Hardworking and quiet were just few ways to describe Roger Bockelman who had a very loving personality. At a young age he learned the value of work before play and later in life, he enjoyed the relaxing times of having a cup of coffee throughout the day either at the truck stop or Big G's in Columbia City.
With the minimum hourly rate of 25 cents, 1938 had many events that would change the world forever. The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, later known as the March of Dimes, was founded in January; the popular comic superhero Superman made his first appearance in April when Action Comics #1 was published, which is considered one of the most valuable comic books ever created and has sold for more than $3 million; the first use of seeing eye dogs occurred, oil was first discovered in Saudi Arabia; and Federal National Mortgage Association "Fannie Mae" was established. These were just a few of the events, but the biggest news of the year for Jacob F. and Geraldine E. (Heinley) Bockelman was the announcement of the birth of their oldest child, Roger Frederick Bockelman. He was born at a local hospital on May 16, 1938 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
He grew up on the family farm near South Whitley with his younger siblings, Robert, Richard and Jerine. Roger did not have a lot of free time for sports because of his obligations on the farm. In his senior year at South Whitley High School, he purchased his first car and took interest in what would be considered a classic in 2019. After graduating with the Class of 1956, Roger started his work Ulmer Oil Company and Green Acre Sod Farm in Collins before working at International Harvester for over 20 years until retiring in 1983.
He continued to stay busy after retiring by utilizing his CDL and drove for TFE Dana, Indiana Truck Auction, Stoops Freight Liner, WA Jones or anyone in need of a driver if he had time. While making a delivery in Albion, Roger was introduced to gal that would change the course of his life. On May 24, 1999, he married Barbara J. (Langohr) Dunlap in Columbia City by the Rev. Phil Blake. Roger had attended over the years Hope Lutheran Church and Grace Lutheran Church in Columbia City.
With a love of cars and tractors, he looked forward to any car or tractor show along with the truck and tractor pulls and Plow Days. He perfered Farmall tractors and tinkering around with his tractors. In his younger years he rode his Honda Goldwings and going on rides with Barb. They also enjoyed camping with friends. Out of everything though, Roger loved spending time with his family. He loved his children and adored his grandchildren. Their lives would change forever at 3:35 a.m. on Thursday, October 31, 2019 when Roger Bockelman passed away at his home in Columbia City at the age of 81.
Survivors include his loving wife of 20 years, Barb Bockelman; children, Michael (Dawn) Bockelman, Randy Bockelman, Brent (Cindy) Bockelman, Lori (Brandin) Heuer, all of Columbia City; step-sons, Eric Dunlap of Fort Wayne and Jason Moore of Columbia City; daughter-in-law, Dana Dunlap, of Kentucky; siblings, Bob (Janice) Bockelman of Columbia City, Dick Bockelman of Arizona and Jerine Bockelman of Florida; 12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and a stepson, Jeffrey Dunlap.
A gathering of family and friends will be 3-8 p.m. Monday, November 4, 2019 at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home with Rev. Matthew Converse of Grace Lutheran Church officiating. Burial will follow at South Park (Annex) Cemetery where he will be laid to rest beside his parents. Memorial donations may be made in his memory to Parkview Whitley Home Health Care and Hospice or Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send his family condolences online.
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Barb and family. We were saddened to hear that Roger had passed away. May you find comfort in the memories of your lives together. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless you and give you comfort during this difficult time. In His love, Pat and Diana Bockelman
Sorry for your loss, thoughts and prayers are with you and family. Larry and Pat Jones
We would like to express our condolences to the family. Thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.
Neighbors, Al and Edwina Williamson
Mike, Randy and Dawn,
Very sorry to read of your father's passing.
It's hard to understand why people are taken from us, but find comfort in knowing you were a special part of such a well-lived life.
As old friends we care and are thinking of you.
Mark and Sandy Mavis
Thinking of you and your family at this sad time
Brent I am so sorry. I loved this man! Always with a smile whenever I saw him. Him and Ed are probably talking about what a crappy year this has been for so many. You are in my prayers.
We were so saddened to learn of Roger's passing, our thoughts go out to the whole family at this trying time. With our deepest sympathy,
Brian and Dianna Smith and the entire staff of Jerry's Tire Service
I met Roger and Barb through their friends Frank and Donna Fahl shortly after they were married. We went on camping trips with them and enjoyed our times together.
We will miss you Roger and prayers for all the Family going through this very hard time.
Barb if you need anything let me know. Hugs
I am so sorry to hear this!! Cherish your memories of him close to your hearts & he'll always be with you. You are in my thoughts & prayers!
Barb & family so sorry of your loss. Thoughts & prayers to all.
Our deepest sympathy reaches out to the Bockelman family in the loss of their Roger. A true and loyal family man. We will miss him dearly. Godspeed, R.I.P. Roger.
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