James Martin Rock, 83, longtime resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Ephraim, Wisconsin, died on June 25, 2019, in Sister Bay, Wisconsin.
He was born August 17, 1935, in Plymouth, Wisconsin, to the late Carroll George and Lillian Augusta Wilhelmina (Leverenz) Rock and grew up on their dairy farm with his older brother, Carroll.
From his start in a one room schoolhouse, Jim went on to earn an undergraduate degree in Geography and a Masters in Rural Sociology from the University of Wisconsin and his doctorate in Economics at Northwestern University.
His reasons for transferring to Northwestern for his PhD weren’t entirely academic, as he had begun pursuing his future wife, Bonnie Brown, who studied there. Their long and romantic union—they wed in 1962—was a great example to their children and grandchildren. It could be said that his love for Bonnie was his most salient characteristic.
Jim worked in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and for the C.I.A. Before becoming a professor. He began teaching in the Economics Department at the University of Utah in 1967, where he served as chairman of the department for several years and won many teaching awards. His academic interests ranged from the aluminum cookware industry to Holstein cattle, and from the national debt to a lifelong enthusiasm for the work of John Maynard Keynes. His career was marked by devotion to his students, with special interest in and responsibility to those less fortunate. He helped set up the Alberta Henry Foundation’s scholarship fund for the disadvantaged and served as a board member and treasurer for the Salt Lake City NAACP.
A devoted father, Jim, will be remembered for reading aloud, coaching soccer, and building many dangerous balance beams in the woods of Door County, Wisconsin, where he spent his summers, and where he moved year-round upon his retirement from teaching. He loved cows and radishes and was an enthusiast full of exclamations.
His legacy will be carried on by his wife, Bonnie; their children, Jennifer (Fred) D’Amato of Shorewood, Wisconsin, Peter (Ella Vining) Rock, of Portland, Oregon , Jim Rock (fiancé, Pearl), of Salt Lake City, Utah, Sara (Pierre Le Blanc) Rock of Ottawa, Ontario; ten grandchildren, brother, Carroll Rock, Jr. of Stillwater, Minnesota; and many other relatives, friends, and former students.
Jim’s life will be honored with a memorial service held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 8, 2019 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 10341 Water Street (State Highway 42), Ephraim, Wisconsin 54211. Burial will be in the Ephraim Moravian Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Jim’s name to the Alberta Henry Foundation, PO Box 1814, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110.
Casperson Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Sister Bay, Wisconsin assisted the Rock family with initial care. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of James may be shared with his family through his tribute page at www.caspersonfuneralhome.com.