After a short courageous battle with a terminal illness, Norman (Knute) Ira Rockney passed away Dec. 27, 2012, at his winter home in Arizona, surrounded by his wife and family.
Knute was born Sept. 9, 1931, in Edgerton, Wyo., to Faye and Elmer Rockney. He was the fifth child in a family of seven children, and was raised in Pavillon, Wyo.
Knute was adventurous as a young man and had already traveled to Alaska to work as a longshoreman in Seward in 1948, by age 17.
Knute met his future wife, Joan Lee Finch, on a blind date in 1949, during a holiday visit to his hometown. They eloped and were married Feb. 23, 1950, in Billings, Mont. After their first two sons were born, Knute sent for his family, moving to Fairbanks to work on Tory Anderson's goldmine as a heavy equipment operator. Knute and Joan were blessed with four more children; two daughters and two sons.
Knute worked at Fairbanks Municipal Utility System as a power plant mechanic, for 32 years. He always humored his co-workers with his quick wit. He had the ability to bring harmony to the workplace with his mediation skills. Knute retired in 1983 to travel to places where the weather matched the beautiful Alaska summers.
Family was important to Knute and he always had a story to share with friends. He would look forward to holidays that would bring family together, and sharing his home with those who would like to stay for a visit.
Knute enjoyed going to garage and auction sales and would share these events with anyone who would go with him. He also had a knack to make the most amazing yard and house ornaments out of junk that appeared to have no value.
He would spend hours working on antique cars and his favorite thing to do was attend car shows, no matter how big or small. Knute's favorite antique car he restored for more than 17 years, was a 1932 Studebaker "Rockne" car. After the car was completed, the Rockney family would ride in the car in the annual Golden Day's Parade with pride.
Knute is preceded in death by his parents, Faye and Elmer Rockney; and siblings, Elna, Coralie and Clifford. Knute is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Joan; sons, Norman Jr. (Brandy), David (Deborah), Darby (Cheryl), Knute Sr. (Deborah); daughters, Deb Jeppsen (Jerry Summers), and Jocelyn (Kelley) Everette; sister, Darlene Marr; and brothers, Arlo (Zora) and Harold Rockney; grandchildren, Colin, Lisa, Brant, Dominic, Gabrielle, Alissa, Christa, Alex, Bridget, Christy, Calin, Kelley, Jessica and Knute Jr.; and many great-grandchildren.
There will be no funeral or memorial services, at Knute's request. The family wishes to thank Dr. Weight and his staff at Tanana Clinic and the care providers from Lake Havasu City hospice for their help during this difficult time.
Joan can be contacted at 2015 Central Ave., Fairbanks, AK 99709.
We love you dad, and are glad you are no longer in pain. It helps to know you are in God's hand and will be watching us from heaven above.