William Lawrence Rockholz obituary photo
 
In Memory of

William Lawrence Rockholz

October 8, 1923 - August 9, 2017

Obituary


William Lawrence Rockholz

IRMO - William "Bill" Lawrence Rockholz died peacefully on August 9, 2017, with his two loving sons by his side. A public memorial service will be held on Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church -- where he was a member -- in Columbia, South Carolina with a reception immediately following.
Born October 8, 1923 to William Lawrence Roe and Mary Ellen (Brook) Roe in Hudson, New York, Bill's father died of ALS in 1928. His mother moved back to New London, Connecticut amidst...

William Lawrence Rockholz

IRMO - William "Bill" Lawrence Rockholz died peacefully on August 9, 2017, with his two loving sons by his side. A public memorial service will be held on Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church -- where he was a member -- in Columbia, South Carolina with a reception immediately following.
Born October 8, 1923 to William Lawrence Roe and Mary Ellen (Brook) Roe in Hudson, New York, Bill's father died of ALS in 1928. His mother moved back to New London, Connecticut amidst the stock market crash and Great Depression, and remarried to John H. Rockholz who later adopted Bill and his younger brother, Robert. Bill graduated from Bulkeley School in New London in 1941 and entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he studied electrical engineering for three semesters until volunteering for military service following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II in the Army Communications Service where he was given sole responsibility for upper-air weather equipment at all air bases in England, Germany and Austria.
Upon return from overseas, Bill married Phebie Elizabeth Gardner at Harkness Chapel, at Connecticut College for Women, in New London on her graduation day. The married couple relocated to Champaign, Illinois where Bill entered the University of Illinois under the G.I. Bill and graduated summa cum laude in 1949 with Bronze Tablet honors, majoring in banking and finance. The couple and their young son, John, moved to the New York City area when Bill joined Bankers Trust Company at 16 Wall Street, then residing in Levittown, Long Island. He became an officer of the bank in 1955, when he moved his family, including new son, Peter, to Norwalk, Connecticut and spent 23 years with the bank developing its leasing operations - eventually becoming Executive Vice President, and President of the Bankers Trust Leasing subsidiary. During this time, their third son, Philip, was born.
Among his pioneering activities at Bankers Trust, Bill developed a successful leasing unit, engaging in large equipment leasing including of airplanes to major commercial airlines (American, Eastern, TWA, Braniff), freight cars to railroads (MKT, B&O, Pennsylvania RR) and oil supertankers and cargo ships. He also led the financing of Hollywood movies including High Noon which won Academy Awards, Disney's Pinocchio, and Around the World in 80 Days for Michael Todd. Upon leaving Bankers Trust, he became President of Concord Leasing, arranging backing from American, Canadian, English and French banks. He later continued innovating at Integrated Resources where he developed the concept for investment by insurance companies and bank trust departments in real estate leases for major corporations rated highly by major rating firms (Moodys, Fitch). Bill was later recruited by Third National Bank of Nashville, Tennessee where he established its leasing division serving as President, and continued to lease large equipment including barges, coal mining equipment and smaller equipment.
Bill retired from Third National in 1986 and remained in Nashville where he was very active in civic and social groups including the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) for seven years including two as its President, and as a member of the Exchange Club of Nashville and the English Speaking Society. He headed the Grand Jury for four months under Judge Shriver. Bill was an avid golfer at Richland Country Club and served as President of the Nashville Seniors Golf Association. He was a member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville with his wife, Phebie, who died there in 2003. During the subsequent 11 years, Bill was very closely associated with Mrs. Rebecca Wright of Nashville, with whom he shared an active social agenda, several trips to Paris and other overseas destinations, and loving companionship.
Bill is predeceased by his wife of 57 years, Phebie, and his youngest son, Philip Gardner Rockholz who died in 2006. He is survived by two sons, John Lawrence Rockholz of Columbia, South Carolina, and Peter Brook Rockholz of Greenwich, Connecticut. Among his surviving progeny are six grandchildren - Patrick Rockholz of Kennesaw, Georgia, Michael Rockholz of Irmo, South Carolina, Wesley Rockholz of Rochester, New York, Kristin Rockholz Burgess of Anniston, Alabama, Julie Rockholz and Vanessa Rockholz-Cruz of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Bill is also survived by ten great-grandchildren with an eleventh on the way.
Caughman-Harman Funeral Home, Lexington Chapel will be assisting with arrangements in Columbia. Interment will be assisted by Byles-MacDougall Funeral Services, 99 Huntington Street, New London, Connecticut at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in New London, Connecticut on Saturday, August 26, 2017, with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 6952 St. Andrews Road, Columbia, SC 29212.