Dee Rochester passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 7:47pm with his family close at hand. Dee was born on January 11, 1941 in Whitehall, IL, the second child of the late John L. and Ruth (Nolan) Rochester. Dee proudly served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years as a nuclear weapons specialist and attained the esteem rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO).
Dee is survived by his beloved wife of 29 years, Benigna “Bee” Rochester of Albuquerque; his six children: Danny Rochester of Scottsdale, AZ; Julie Lujan and her husband Christopher of Albuquerque; Melissa Ridley and her husband Russell of Albuquerque; Sandra Mounce and her husband Doug of Broken Arrow, OK; Audra Stanley and her husband Carl of Albuquerque; Beth Hayes and her husband Ira of Broken Arrow, OK; Dee adored his eleven grand-children: Daniel, Jeremy, Andrew, Tara, Cody, Lauren, Austin, Darren, Branden, Abby and Tayler, and three great grand-children: Joel, Brody and Kaylin. He is also survived by his older brother Lyndell Rochester and wife Nellie of Waverly, IL; and younger brother Jimmy Rochester and wife Vicki of Champaign, IL.
Dee was very proud of his military service and was quite fond of sharing stories about his adventures in the U.S. Navy. He graduated from the United States Naval Training Center, San Diego, CA with Company 59-594. At the beginning of his naval career Dee served aboard the USS Saratoga (CV-3) a Lexington-class aircraft carrier, where he earned his first medal for good conduct. Next he served as an ordnance mechanic at the Naval Weapons Facility in Machrihanish, Scotland. Dee completed an Associate’s Degree from Tidewater Community College before serving aboard another ship, the USS Ranger (CV-61), a Forrestal-class supercarrier, where he earned his fourth medal for good conduct. He earned his fifth medal for good conduct when serving as a warhead maintenance specialist at his final active duty station in McAlester, OK, before transferring into the Fleet Reserve. Before retiring, Dee worked as a technical writer and instructor, while serving as a distinguished member of the Fleet Reserve.
Dee’s favorite past time was camping and fishing. He couldn’t wait to pack his RV and head out to meet his buddies, Moose and Hambone. Dee would listen to his favorite country songs while just hanging out enjoying the scenery and petting his beloved dog Jack. Most Sunday’s were filled with NASCAR, cheering on the legendary #3. During the racing season he gladly waved Bee off to the mall so he could watch his race uninterrupted. However, when the season was over he was ready to take off to the casino with his best poker partner, his wife Bee. The happy couple enjoyed their winnings, with trips visiting family, friends, races, and any bluegrass festival that was nearby. Looking for ways to support his Veteran brothers and sisters, he and Bee started a tradition of visiting the VA Hospital in Truth or Consequences, NM. Every November the two of them would make the trek, taking a truck load of hats, gloves, toiletries, and magazines. Dee and his beloved wife Bee very much enjoyed their life together from country dancing to camping, from reunion parties to garage parties. Dee never met a stranger, treating everyone with kindness and respect. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
The Memorial Service celebrating Dee’s life will be held Monday, February 27, 2017 at Daniels Family Funeral Services-Wyoming Chapel from 11-12pm. A reception will follow immediately after in the Daniels Family reception hall.
Mr. L. Dee Rochester will be laid to rest on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at the Santa Fe National Cemetery at 12:45pm. In lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution can be made to the American Heart Association in Dee’s honor.