Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"A Candle in the Wind"

Remember the fan that blows all your well-placed and organized papers away? It is very real. And I was pointedly reminded the day after we greeted our Sunday here with such a tragic loss. Sending up prayers for my friends the Rochlin's. And everybody else who mourns or weeps or grieves this day. We will say goodbye to Charley this morning.


On a cold, breezy Monday afternoon in Westport, friends and family of the late Charles "Charley" Rochlin filtered through the same Meeker Road residence where the 24-year-old native was raised and returned to when he wasn't serving his country overseas as a U.S. Marine. Seated together around the kitchen island were Rochlin's three younger sisters -- Taylor, 9, Kendall, 12, and Brittany, 21. Slouched in their stools, the three girls said little; their necks glimmered from the personalized diamond pendants their older brother had given to each of them on Christmas morning, less than 48 hours before he was killed in a Sunday morning car accident on Greens Farm Road. Rochlin was traveling in a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by his childhood friend Matthew Packer, 25, of Westport, when wet and foggy conditions forced the vehicle off the roadway and into a tree at about 2:45 a.m. on Sunday. The collision, which produced severe damage to the passenger side of the vehicle, killed Rochlin and sent Packer to Norwalk Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Westport police said. Rochlin's parents described their son on Monday as a family-oriented young man, honored to serve his country as a Marine and happy to live life as an American. "My Charley was dedicated to his family," said his stepmother, Lucretia Rochlin. "A huge, huge part of his life were his three sisters. They adored him; Charley was their hero." So much in fact that when the young Marine returned home in September after a seven-month tour in Iraq, the youngest of the three brought her brother to Coleytown Elementary School for show-and-tell, Lucretia Rochlin said. Whether it was answering questions for a room full of elementary school children or helping his blind, 91-year-old great-grandmother navigate the house, Charley Rochlin had a way of relating to different personalities, she said. "He loved to help people, he was the least selfish person you would ever meet," Lucretia Rochlin said. Born in Westport on Sept. 14, 1985, Charley Rochlin played competitive sports since childhood, taking home junior golf championships and numerous pee-wee hockey trophies, said his father, Scott Rochlin. He attended Fairfield College Preparatory School for three years and played varsity ice hockey, helping lead the Jesuits to two state championship titles, Scott Rochlin said. He went on to graduate from Staples High School before spending a year at Norwalk Community College and another three years at the University of Colorado. In March of 2008, he sat his parents down and announced his intentions to act on his dream of becoming a U.S. Marine, his father said. The family was proud of his intentions and supportive every step of the way, Scott Rochlin said. "I was obviously nervous what with everything that was happening," he said. "Those seven months he was away (on tour in Iraq) I can tell you I got very little sleep." Rochlin had only recently returned home for Christmas break and was scheduled to ship off in early January for a second tour, this time in Afghanistan, his father said. Scott Rochlin awoke Sunday morning expecting to celebrate his own birthday with his wife and children. Instead, there was no celebration; Charley Rochlin was gone. "I was really looking forward to spending my birthday with (Charley)," Scott Rochlin said. "We never quite got there." The funeral will be held on Dec. 30 at 9 a.m. at Saint Luke Church, 49 Turkey Hill Road North, Westport. Interment with full military honors will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery, 395 Main St., Westport. The accident is still under investigation and the Westport Police Department is requesting that anyone who may have witnessed or has information about the accident call the police department at (203) 341-6000.
WESTPORT
By CHASE WRIGHT

Hour Staff Writer

23 comments:

big hair envy said...

There are no words...

Flash Stitcher said...

Our thoughts and prayers for the Rochlin family and all who knew Charlie.

I had read about this tragety in the paper.

Drama Queen said...

I am so sorry for this loss - what a terrible tragedy for the family and friends....they are in my thoughts and prayers at this time...

Debbie said...

There are so many times when you just don't understand...why?

So very sad and I will keep them in my prayers.

Grandma J said...

Praying for the Rochlin family.

Daryl said...

So very sad ...

Decadent Housewife said...

Deepest Sympathies

Linda said...

How sad. There are no words...

We had 3 young people killed in our area. They were all headed for home for Christmas vacation. The weather was awful; blizzard conditions. They all died in auto accidents.

I can't think of anything sadder than burying one of your children.

Keetha said...

Oh, I just can't imagine. That poor family. Thank you for sharing this so we can send up prayers for them. What a moving tribute.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Such a tragedy...sending prayers of comfort.
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Tammy said...

So very sad.

kim-d said...

This breaks my heart. My sincere thoughts and prayers for Charley's family and friends, and the whole community that is mourning the loss of this young man.

There just are no words...

jojo said...

overwhelming sadness...God Bless him and those who mourn for his incredible loss...

These Nine Acres said...

Deep sadness must consume your community. Prayers are going out.

Sassy said...

WOW! That really makes me think differently of how my day is going..........how very tragic is this? I can NOT imagine losing a child..............I'm so sorry for everyone's loss......my thoughts and prayers to all of you...hugs♥

Deb said...

i was prepared to read that this fine young man was killed in action only to hear that he died in a car accident. how awful. there are no words to describe how i feel.

Diane said...

I saw this on Annie's blog late last night. So tragic. It makes me all the more grateful that K3 was so lucky. Sending prayers to the family. What wonderful young man he was and how lucky they were to have had him in their lives...

TSannie said...

So very beautiful...full military honors.

phd in yogurtry said...

Thank you, Charley, for serving our country. My heart goes out to his family and especially his surviving friend, the driver. He's carrying quite a lot on his shoulders today.

Delora said...

Such sadness...

Hilary said...

That's such a heart breaker...

Flea said...

I'm so sorry. So sad.

Lisa said...

wow, what a heart breaker. To survive one war then to lose your life on home soil seems so senseless. My heart aches for that family.