John “Jack” Hardin Rochelle ’45

John “Jack” Hardin Rochelle ’45 of High Point, N.C., died on March 16 in Florida after battling courageously with his declining health. Rochelle was one of High Point’s great personalities, a furniture industry legend, passionate outdoorsman, and patriot. He was beloved and is mourned by his loving family, his many friends, business associates, long-term dining companions at the String and Splinter Club head table, his hunting buddies, and his dogs. Rochelle was born on Oct. 18, 1923, to Mr. and Mrs. John Hardin in Jamestown, N.C. He lost his father at an early age and was nurtured and cared for by his mother and a close cadre of his father’s friends, who mentored and raised him to be a young man of resource, energy, and ambition. His mother later remarried to T.V. Rochelle, who adopted him and inspired his lifelong passion for the furniture industry. Rochelle gained a well-earned reputation as both an athlete and a young man who loved and worked well with horses. In time he became one of the top equestrians in the state and supported himself and his family by training and showing horses for businessmen in the community. He distinguished himself as a student, an athlete, and a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at Davidson; he then moved on to the University of Georgia, where he served as president of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and head of the ROTC Cavalry Unit. He later attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he studied furniture design. Upon the outbreak of WWII, like many of his generation, he joined the Army and received his commission as an officer. He had the rare distinction of serving in the last horse cavalry regiment in the U.S. Army, where he remained until they transitioned into tanks, which Rochelle did not favor. He transferred into the infantry and ultimately served as a captain in the legendary Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which was the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Rochelle served with indigenous forces in China, where they fought against the invading Imperial Army of Japan. Rochelle’s dedication to his men, his disregard for his own safety, and his stellar service to his country defined him as a true patriot, a hero, and a member of what has been aptly called our “Greatest Generation.” After returning from the war he married his sweetheart, Gloria Ilderton, whom he loved and raised a family with for over 64 years. He began a storied career in the furniture industry as he followed in his stepfather’s footsteps when he became president of the Globe Furniture Company, where he helped build the organization into one of the leading furniture manufacturers in the industry. He went on to become a respected and well-known leader in the furniture industry and was part of the leadership group that guided the industry during the golden years of manufacturing in High Point. His great love and lifelong passion for the outdoors led to generations of hunting trips, horse shows, and dogs that have become legend among his family and friends. He was a champion shooter and was recognized many times for his commitment to conservation and the preservation of his beloved retreat, “Wild Wing,” in Thomasville, N.C. He was particularly dedicated to his two favorite dogs, Lum and Teddy Bear. The community benefitted greatly from his leadership and love of High Point, which was manifested in his involvement in the establishment of the Furniture Club and the String and Splinter Club. He was also well-known and respected for the generous support and leadership he gave to a multitude of nonprofit organizations in our community. He was a lifelong member of the Rotary Club and was very proud to be a lifetime member of the board of directors of the International Home Furniture Center. Rochelle is survived by his loving wife, Gloria Ilderton Rochelle, 1214 Woodland Pl., High Point, NC 27262-3624; his daughters, Ashley R. Culler (Braxton), Rosie Marie Boone (Lee), and Julie Rochelle-Stephens; his grandchildren, Kimberly Culler Combs, R. Braxton “Brack” Culler IV (Caroline), John “Josh” Rochelle Culler, Spencer Boone, Jackson Boone, Caroline Boone, Maya R. Stephens, Taylor R. Gilfillan (Mark), and Mariah Rochelle-Stephens; and seven great-grandchildren.