Monday, September 10, 2012
From The Tennessean
Our Beloved Aunt Roberta Died
The youngest of five children, she was born to Lula Hester and William Leonidas Rochelle at dawn on October 13, 1918 in Plant, Humphreys County, Tennessee. She was the last surviving sibling of Marguerite Shannon, Rayburn Rochelle, Eudora Mason and Lois Armstrong. She was born into a family of teachers whom she loved dearly and who taught her to love knowledge, music, literature, and theater, and she passed this love on to her friends and extended family.
Despite her encounters with illness and physical limitations throughout her life, starting with malaria at the age of three, and the hardship of growing up during the Depression, she never complained or focused on herself. Even until her final days, she was concerned with the welfare of others, their comfort and safety.
She enjoyed a good story and had a healthy laugh. She was not one to be left behind by the times. There are not many 93 year-olds who have an iPad and an Impala Super Sport! She had a dry wit, an active and curious intellect, a caring heart, and always a sparkle in her eye. She looked for the best in people and was generous with her time. A 1938 graduate of Peabody College for Teachers, she performed as an acclaimed actress with the Peabody Players, excelled as a student and completed post-graduate studies in library science.
In her first teaching job at Cumberland High School, she met and fell in love with a fellow teacher and Peabody graduate, Joe E. Torrence, whom she married on April 8, 1939. They were married for 63 years until his death in 2002 after his long, distinguished career in public service. They were lifelong residents of Davidson County except for the period of the war years when they lived in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where he worked with the Manhattan Project.
Although Roberta was a teacher by training, after she married she chose a career as a devoted wife and partner to her husband, and she applied her vast abilities and patience as a teacher to being a consummate mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She was a devoted aunt and great aunt, a loyal friend to many and an inspiration to all who met her. Her beauty and spirit radiated from inside out.
She is survived by her five children, Jeanie Camille Torrence Fohl, Joseph Howard Torrence and his wife Ellen, Linda Rochelle Torrence Muir and her husband Bob, William Giddens Torrence and his wife Cindy, David Cooley Torrence and his wife Bonnie.
She was "Grandma" to eleven grandchildren, Jeanie Dale (Bob), Emily Paisley (Chris), Katherine Hartle (Dan), Robbie King (Kristin), Adam King (Anne), Rebecca Muir, Jennifer Mulvaney (Michael), Stephanie Torrence, Will Torrence, Josh Torrence (Beth) and Joe Torrence. She was "GiGi" to her twenty three great grandchildren, Zachary, Devon and Maxwell Dale, Eliza, Canon and Thatcher Paisley, Houston, Lilly and Addison Hartle, Skylar, Georgia, Lucy and Robert King, Ava and Ethan King, Winfield and Robert Dean, Michael and Ian Mulvaney, Kyle and Erin Torrence, Haley Torrence and Knox Torrence.
Viewing and visitation will be held at Brentwood-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home, 9010 Church Street, East Brentwood, TN 37027 on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Funeral services will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 4815 Franklin Road, Nashville, TN 37220 at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, followed immediately by a brief graveside service and interment at Woodlawn Memorial Park, 660 Thompson Lane, Nashville, TN 37204.
Pallbearers will be Joseph H. Torrence, William G. Torrence, David C. Torrence, Robert S. King, William G. Torrence, Jr., Joshua D. Torrence and Joseph S. Torrence. Flowers are welcome, and memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Rochelle Center, 1020 Southside Court, Nashville, TN 37203.
The family expresses the deepest appreciation to Marie Manning, Roberta's loyal friend and caregiver for many years of faithful service, to her doctors for her health through the years and to the caring staff at Centennial Medical Center and Alive Hospice for her care and comfort in her final days. Often reciting the favorite poems of her childhood, Roberta believed as Wordsworth did that our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting, that we come trailing clouds of glory from God, who is our home. She has gone home. She was Love and Laughter and leaves us with her smile.