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Donald Bruce Rooke

August 19, 1929 ~ May 14, 2017 (age 87)
Longmeadow – Donald Bruce Rooke (87) of Longmeadow departed this life with family at his side on Sunday, May 14, 2017 at the Leavitt Family Jewish Home in Longmeadow. Born in Springfield on August 19th, he was the sixth son and seventh child of the late Walter and Bernadette (Manning) Rooke. It was the first year of the Great Depression. At age 12, he began shining shoes on the corner of Worthington & Main, and went on to stock shelves, wash bottles, bag groceries, tally receipts, box jewelry, and load freight cars to help the family “keep body and soul together.” At 18, he graduated from Cathedral High School (1947) and, following in the footsteps of his older brothers, joined the United States Marines. A sergeant trained for stenography, he shipped to Korea with the 1st Marine Division engaged in the Battle of Pusan Perimeter and the Inchon invasion, and survived the fighting and bitter cold at the Chosin Reservoir. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor. Upon returning from the war, he joined the Springfield Police Department, and served as a patrolman for four years, working nights while pursuing a BA in English from American International College. He graduated from AIC in 1957, and began a “temporary” position in the advertising and sales department at American Saw & Mfg. Co. in East Longmeadow. After a 37 year career, he retired from “the Saw” as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Through work, he traveled the world and set foot in every state save one. Donald was associated with several professional organizations, was a lifetime member of the Marine Corps Memorial in San Francisco, CA, and a longtime communicant of St. Mary’s Parish in Longmeadow. With his family he enjoyed summer vacations at the Cape, weekend trips to Fenway, and holiday celebrations at home. He cooked pancakes for his grandchildren, pies for his friends, and “pasta fazool” for the soup kitchen. He reveled in sharing the wonders of Paris, Florence, and especially Ireland with his wife of 45 years, Theresa (O’Connor) “Sissy” Rooke, who predeceased him (1998). He faithfully read to his daughter Ann in her final years (2009) at the Jewish Home, and volunteered there as a bingo caller. He was predeceased by his brothers, Ralph Rooke and George Rooke. He is survived by his children, Donal Rooke of Northampton, Maryalice Rooke Ryan of Stamford, Tricia Connors (Daniel Joseph) of Springfield, Brian Rooke (Dawn) of Holden, and Christine Overstreet (Gerry) of Longmeadow; his grandchildren, Colin Ryan, Cathleen Ryan Lavelle (Kevin), Caroline Ryan, Kiersten Rooke, Connor Rooke, Jonathan Rooke, Daniel Overstreet, John Overstreet, and Donal’s godson, Mo Shaw; and his siblings, Leonard Rooke, Walter Rooke, Jr. (Marion), Mary Lundrigan (Francis), and Michael Rooke (Patricia), as well as many nieces and nephews of whom he was very fond. Family and friends are invited to meet for calling hours on Friday, May 19th, from 4-7 PM at the Forastiere Smith Funeral Home, 220 North Main St. East Longmeadow. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, May 20th beginning at 9:15 AM at the funeral home followed by a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 10:30 AM at St. Mary’s Church, 519 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow. Burial will be held in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Springfield immediately following. Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-1905; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 26 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10004; or MS Society of Greater New England, 101A First Avenue, Waltham, MA 02451. www.forastiere.com

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