Jay K. Rockwell of 310 York Ave., Towanda, passed from this life at home on March 22, 2013, after a battle with cancer.
He was a graduate of Towanda High School, Class of 1977. Jay played football for THS, was a class officer, and an outspoken advocate for his fellow classmates and friends. Soon after graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Navy
and served 11 years. When the USS Missouri was recommissioned Jay was chosen to serve as a crew member on its inaugural voyage around the world, ending up at the 100th anniversary of the Australian Navy.
He served two deployments aboard the USS Missouri which covered the periods of Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
During the Desert Storm campaign he was the leading Petty Officer in charge of the Combat Information Center aboard ship and was awarded the U.S. Naval Achievement Medal for service set forth "For professional achievement in the superior performance of duties while serving as Leading Petty Officer of Operations Intelligence Division and Naval Gunfire Support Team Supervisor on USS Missouri (BB63) from May 1986 to May 1991 Petty Officer Rockwell performed his duties in an exemplary and highly professional manner. He developed comprehensive training plans and organized watchbills that contributed to the successful completion of two Harpoon Trainers and two Cruise Missile Tactical Qualifications. In addition, during Operation Desert Storm, he directed over 145 helicopter evolutions and 35 flight operations involving personnel, cargo and mail transfers without mishap. His diligent efforts and resourcefulness inspired all who observed him and contributed to the accomplishment of USS Missouri's mission. Petty Office Rockwell's professionalism and devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Following his discharge from the Navy he became an employee of Ward Industries Inc. of Blossburg and worked for them for 10 years in their steel mill in Blossburg, Pa. After the time of a large lay-off he decided on a career change and went to truck driving school. For nearly the past four years he has been a water tank driver for the gas industry's trucking firms, until a lay-off last fall.
In addition to his many friends he is survived by his mother Jo Rockwell; his brothers Dale of Salt Lake City (Denise); Dan Rockwell of Carbondale (JoAnn); David Rockwell of Pa.; and his sisters Susan Rockwell of Goshen, N.Y. and Gerri Lynne Wagner (Joey) of Nichols, N.Y.; and his nephew, Bradley Rockwell of Pittsburgh, Pa.
He was predeceased by his father, Gerald Rockwell of Lacey, Wash.; his paternal grandparents Carl and Doris Rockwell of West Burlington, and maternal grandparents J. Lynn and Clara Pantier of Montandon, Pa.
Jay's favorite hobbies were hunting, fishing, and supporting the Pittsburgh Steelers. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Military honors will be accorded at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at Beirne Webster VFW
Post No. 1568, Bridge Street Hill Road, Towanda, Pa. The family will receive friends from 2 to 5 p.m. at the VFW.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Beirne Webster VFW Post No. 1568, 3271 Bridge Street Hill Rd., Towanda, PA 18848 in Jay K. Rockwell's memory. Memories and condolences may be expressed and shared by visiting www.bowenfuneralhomes.com