Helen Rocklein

Obituary of Helen E. Rocklein

HELEN E. ROCKLEIN OBITUARY
10/26/2019
Helen Elizabeth Murphy was born on September 21, 1937. Always a friendly and outgoing child, Helen wrote letters to her godfather, a soldier fighting in World War II; later she would tell her children that her letters kept the troops going, because it reminded them of the little girls, like her, who were counting on them back home.
 
Helen’s father, Francis Murphy, always told her that she should have two things she could do for a living. She was offered the opportunity to take over her uncle’s mortuary business, which she politely declined. Always a talented musician, one day her father surprised her with an organ, and so began the first of her careers as a church organist. She started at the young age of 13, playing at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and later at Our Lady of Fatima and St. Peter’s of Alcantara, in Port Washington, where she played for over 35 years. Following through with the two-career idea, Helen also went to St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing, received a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College and earned a scholarship to receive her master’s degree from NYU. She became a registered nurse and later taught nursing at St. Vincent’s and Nassau Community College.
 
One day in 1960, Helen was introduced on a blind date to an aspiring civil engineer named George Walter Rocklein. George would meet Helen at the end of her shift at St. Vincent’s, they would go back to her house where her parents would have a huge spread of food prepared for them, so marriage was the obvious next step. Helen and George married in 1963 bought a house in Manhasset and had three children, George Jr, Kathleen and Jean. Helen volunteered for the Manhasset School District with the ESL program and became the treasurer for the Manhasset Student Aid Society. She was very proud of her involvement in gifting money to deserving students so that they could continue their higher education. 
 
Always interested in travel, Helen and George went on many trips and saw the world. She would go to churches in every city, reminding us that that a church was where you found a place’s history.
 
Helen and George enjoyed their retirement together, still living in the same house in Manhasset for over 52 years, amongst close neighbors, friends and family.
 
She is survived by her sister, Alice Reilly of Manhasset, her husband, George Walter Rocklein of Manhasset, her three children, George Jr of Lake Forest, IL, Kathleen Sontag of Manhasset, Jean Palmer of Huntington, NY and her six grandchildren, Emily, Cameron, Ian, Alison, Megan and Brooke.
 
In Lieu of flowers, a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association or Dr. Richard Isaacson of Weill Cornell Medicine’s Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at https://give.weill.cornell.edu/ways-give/make-gift (you must specify the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic).