William (Bill) Rockwood, 90, of Albany, NY passed away on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. A native of Albany, Bill was the youngest of three sons born to the late Morris and Gussie Rockowitz. He married his childhood sweetheart, the late Adrienne Rockwood, in 1953. With their mothers’ “encouragement" they began a friendship at the ages of six and five. Their teenage years were filled with dances, dates, proms and gatherings with their tight knit group of friends. Together they raised five children, and were the proud grandparents and great grandparents of 16 and 18 children, respectively.
Bill was the consummate educator from his early days as a high school science teacher to the grace with which he lived his very last days on this earth. Throughout different stages of his life, he answered to a wide variety of names: William, Bill, Billy, Doc Rock, Dad and Zayde. Rather appropriately, his license plate consisted of four simple letters: PROF. Whether in the classroom, serving on a board, being a father or a Zayde — Bill maximized every opportunity to find and teach a lesson. Always with purpose. Always with kindness. Always with wisdom. Always as the favorite professor everyone wishes they had, and that his family was blessed to call as its very own.
Before you can teach, you must be taught — and Bill took his own education very seriously. Upon discharge from the US Army where he bravely served in the Korean War, he obtained a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and a master’s degree from Syracuse University. His last academic journey took him away from his young wife and (then) three children for several days each week — earning him a well deserved Ph.D. from New York University. Bill’s professional career spanned more than 50 years and won him more accolades, honors and awards than this space will allow. At The Sage Colleges, he served as chair of the biology department and as the founder and director of the Sage Project in Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Upon his retirement from academia, he and Adrienne skipped the traditional golf courses and lunches and used their joint love of teaching and helping others by founding Senior Hope, an outpatient clinic serving the 50+ population. When they moved into The Massry, they even led women’s and men’s groups, always looking for ways to share knowledge and facilitate new and interesting discussions.
Bill was an active member of the Capital Region Jewish community for many years, including serving as a past president of Temple Israel, CBAJ board member, past president of Vaad Hakashruth of the Capital District and as a former commander for the Jewish War Veterans Post 105.
While he achieved much success in his career, Bill’s love for his family was his greatest superpower. From his oldest daughter to his youngest great-grandson, nothing made him happier than being a Dad and Zayde. And nothing in this world gave him a pep in his step like hearing about their new accomplishments — a job, a glowing report card or even first steps.
Survivors include his five children: Marta Koblenz (Mark) of Albany, NY; Gary Rockwood (Mindy) of Baltimore, Maryland; Stephanie (Drew) Kugler of Albany, NY, Hope ( Matthew) Rosenbaum of Rochester, NY; Heather Rockwood (Ken) of Rexford, NY. Bill also leaves 16 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.
If you were lucky enough to have Bill in your life, you know that you had no stronger supporter or bigger cheerleader on your side. As a professor, his lessons extended far beyond the confines of the classroom. As a mentor and a friend he was giving and loyal. As a colleague he was generous and collaborative. As a parent, he and Adrienne taught their children how to raise a family. Like that of his beautiful bride of 66 years, his legacy will surely live on for generations and generations to come. L’dor va’dor.
Donations in his memory may be made to Daughters of Sarah Senior Community, Hebrew Academy of the Capital District and Congregation Beth Abraham Jacob.
Private family graveside funeral service will take place tomorrow, Friday, May 7, at 11:00 am, on the grounds of Temple Israel Cemetery on Western Avenue. The service will also be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5KR2rmVpUU. Shiva will be observed partially in Albany, and partially in the families’ respective communities. Masked, socially distant, outdoor Shiva Visits are welcome at the backyard of Marta and Mark Koblenz as follows:
Sunday and Monday from 1pm to 4pm and again from 6pm to 8:30 pm.
Additional shiva information will be forthcoming and can be obtained on the Levine Memorial website.
The CBAJ Sunday morning 8:30 Shacharit Service will take place in the Koblenz backyard. Additional Mincha/Ma’ariv service will take place in the Koblenz backyard Sunday and Monday at 6:15 pm
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Rockwood, please visit our floral store.
Daughters of Sarah Senior Community
180 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany NY 12203
Hebrew Academy of the Capital District
100 Academy Road, Albany NY 12208
Congregation Beth Abraham Jacob
380 Whitehall Road, Albany NY 12208