In the early morning of October 24, 2019, Walter Gene Rockwood, 91, of Hartland and Chelsea, Vermont, joined the predeceased loves of his life–Beverly Alyce (Kenyon) Rockwood (1930-1999) to whom he was married for 50 years and Jean Peterson (1933-2013) with whom he spent 13 years. Walter (aka Rocky or Walt) was born on September 28, 1928 on the Bowers homestead in Hartland. He grew up on the family dairy farm and graduated from Windsor High School in 1945, where he courted Beverly. At the end of WW2, he served briefly in the US Navy. Walter and Beverly were married on September 11, 1948 and he attended and graduated from the University of Vermont in 1950 with a degree in agriculture.
In 1963, Walter, along with Beverly and their four children (3-11) began his “journey” in the foreign service with USAID in Togo, then in Guinea and Morocco until 1968. After earning his Masters’ Degree in Agricultural Communications at the University of Illinois in 1970, he worked at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria for several years, a year in Iran working for the United Nations, followed by many years at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. His final years in Africa were in the Cote d’Ivoire as part of the Food for Peace program, but he worked part time with IRRI remotely until around 1998.
He retired in 1988 and settled on Redrock Farm in Chelsea where he established a choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm. He was active in the Vermont-New Hampshire Christmas Tree Association, the Vermont Senior Guard, Alumni Associations from IITA and IRRI, and the Chelsea community.
A gathering to celebrate Walter’s life will be held at Knight Funeral Home in Windsor, VT on November 23, 2019 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, with a short prayer service at 2:00 pm. Condolences may be expressed to his family in an online guestbook at www.knightfuneralhomes.com.