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Walter Gene Rockwood CHELSEA — In the early morning of Oct. 24, 2019, Walter Gene Rockwood, 91, of Hartland and Chelsea, 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. His passing was quiet and comfortable at the Jack Bryne Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, having been surrounded by his family. Walter (aka Rocky, Walt) was born on Sept. 28, 1928, on the Bowers homestead in Hartland. He grew up in Hartland on the family dairy farm and graduated from Windsor High School in 1945, where he courted Beverly. At the end of WWII, he served briefly in the U.S. Navy. Walter and Beverly were married on Sept. 11, 1948, and he attended and graduated from the University of Vermont in 1950 with a degree in agriculture. He began his long and interesting life in Swanton, followed by residence in St. Albans and Georgia Plains as the Franklin County (dairy) Agent. During this time, he also served in the National Guard and rose to command an armored company in Swanton. In 1963, he, along with Beverly and their four children aged between 3 and 11, began his “journey” in the foreign service with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Togo, then in Guinea and Morocco until 1968. After earning his Master’s 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. Late in life, he lived briefly in Hartland and had been residing at the Historic Homes of Runnemede in Windsor for five years. Walter was predeceased by father, Floyd Rockwood, and his mother, Julia (Bowers) Rockwood; his sister, Greta (Rockwood) Somerville, and brother, Gordon Rockwood. He is survived by his son, Richard and wife Stephanie Rockwood, of Chelsea, son Timothy and wife Codie Rockwood, of Hartland, daughter Pamela and husband Andrew Russell, of Old Lyme, Connecticut, and son William and wife Cynthia Rockwood, of Grand Junction, Colorado; eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. We request donations in his memory be made to one of the following organizations: The Chelsea Area Senior Center, 13 Church St., Chelsea, VT; The Asia Rice Foundation Inc., 82 Ashlar Village Drive, Wallingford, CT 06492; or the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care, 154 Hitchcock Loop Road, Lebanon, NH 03756. A gathering to celebrate Walter's life will be held at Knight Funeral Home in Windsor on Nov. 23 from 1 to 2 p.m. with a short prayer service at 2 p.m. A further celebration of Walter’s life will be scheduled at a later time at Redrock Farm in Chelsea. Condolences may be expressed to his family in an online guestbook at www.knightfuneralhomes.com. The Knight Funeral Home in Windsor has been entrusted with arrangements.

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