Rocco James Kay, a Hoquiam resident and Correctional Industry Supervisor for Stafford Creek Correctional Center, died on Wednesday, August 8, 2012, at Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen, he was 59. Rocco was born to Delbert Franklin and Wilma Jean (Hurrell) Kay on December 17, 1952, in Jacksonville, Florida. Shortly after Rocco’s birth the family moved west, spending a few years in Columbus, Ohio before settling in the Grays Harbor area. Rocco’s early childhood was spent in Westport but by age six, the family established roots in Aberdeen.
Rocco attended J.M. Weatherwax High School where he met his future wife, Rogene Errol Clay, and graduated in 1973. Rocco and Rogene were married on June 25th, that same year in Montesano, Wash. Shortly after graduation Rocco went to work for Lambs Grays Harbor in Hoquiam where he worked as an apprentice welder. Through Lambs and Grays Harbor College, Rocco completed coursework to earn his Certified Journeyman’s Welding Certificate in 1979. In 2001, Rocco went to work at Stafford Creek, working as a Correctional Industries Supervisor where he managed a staff of inmates that produced furniture for the State’s educational institutions.
Rocco and Rogene moved to the family home in Hoquiam in the summer of 1978, where they raised their son, Kevin James and daughter, Kristen Jeannette (Barton). Rocco was a molder-of-men and a mentor to many; a passion which was reflected in his life’s work. He coached Little League, Babe Ruth and Sr. Babe Ruth in Hoquiam and helped to rehabilitate inmates at Stafford Creek by teaching them valuable professional skills to prepare them for their release.
Rocco loved his family dearly as was evident to all who heard him talk about his wife, children and grandchildren. He enjoyed fishing, collecting baseball cards, coaching, but most of all he enjoyed playing with his grandson.
Rocco is survived by his wife of 39 years, Rogene Kay of Hoquiam; a son, Kevin and his wife, Sarah Kay of Seattle; a daughter, Kristen and her husband, Mike Barton of Orting, Wash.; a brother, Michael and his wife, Joni Kay of Wolf Point, Mont.; two sisters, Toni and her husband, Vic Reichenbach of Casper, Wyo. and Teri and her husband, Dave Dahl of Vancouver, Wash.; as well as his grandson, Brennan Kay. Rocco was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Mia Barton.
A memorial service will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, August 27, 2012, in Immanuel Baptist Church, 1200 Soule Ave., Hoquiam, Wash.
A message of condolence or a favorite memory can be left for the family at www.fernhillfuneral.com.
Arrangements are entrusted to Fern Hill Funeral Home in Aberdeen.