on September 1, 2014 - 8:28 PM
, updated September 1, 2014 at 8:32 PM
Aug. 8, 1937 – Aug. 30, 2014
PERRYSBURG – Jerry Rochez, a veteran of the Vietnam War and retired airline pilot, died Saturday in the trauma unit of Erie County Medical Center, where he was transferred by Mercy Flight following an accident at his VanVleck Road home. He was 77.
Born in Penn Hills, Pa., Mr. Rochez graduated from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting.
A Navy veteran, Mr. Rochez was deployed for two tours during the Vietnam War. He rose to the rank of lieutenant commander.
After the service, he became a commercial pilot for Allegheny and Mohawk airlines, then US Airways, piloting for more than 25 years before his retirement.
A certified flight instructor, Mr. Rochez taught his children to fly and had a landing strip at the family’s property in Perrysburg.
He was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and American Legion Post 409, both in Gowanda.
An antique car buff, Mr. Rochez was a member of several antique car clubs, including Allis Chalmers, Kaiser-Frazer and Crosley. He also had a commercial driver’s license.
Survivors include his wife of nearly 50 years, the former Mary B. Stewart; three sons, Gerald, David and Peter; a daughter, Eilis McKenna; three brothers, Fritz, John and Edward; and 10 grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday in St. Joseph’s Church, East Main Street, Gowanda.