Chester W. Rohrbach, a resident of the Lutheran Home at Topton and formerly of Bechtelsville, died on March 20, 2014. He was the widower of Marion L. (Hirsch) Rohrbach, his wife of 47 years. Born on his grandparents' farm near Eshbach, Washington Township, he was the son of the late Aaron H. Rohrbach and Mary (Miller) Rohrbach. He attended elementary school in Bechtelsville, graduated with the last class of Bechtelsville Junior High School in 1931, and then from Boyertown High School in 1934. He attended Kutztown State Teachers College, now Kutztown University, and received his standard teaching certificate in 1936. Thereafter, he...
Chester W. Rohrbach, a resident of the Lutheran Home at Topton and formerly of Bechtelsville, died on March 20, 2014. He was the widower of Marion L. (Hirsch) Rohrbach, his wife of 47 years. Born on his grandparents' farm near Eshbach, Washington Township, he was the son of the late Aaron H. Rohrbach and Mary (Miller) Rohrbach.
He attended elementary school in Bechtelsville, graduated with the last class of Bechtelsville Junior High School in 1931, and then from Boyertown High School in 1934. He attended Kutztown State Teachers College, now Kutztown University, and received his standard teaching certificate in 1936. Thereafter, he began his 41 year career as an educator, teaching Grades 4, 5 and 6 in the same room at Bechtelsville Elementary School. After receiving his bachelor of science degree at Kutztown in June 1940, he was appointed teacher and elementary principal of the Strausstown-Upper Tulpehocken School District, the first joint school district in Berks County.
World War II interrupted his teaching career, and he was inducted into the U.S Army on June 1, 1942 at the Harrisburg Armory. He was then assigned to the 79th Infantry Division Headquarters Company, and he underwent basic training at Camp Pickett, Virginia. In September of 1942 the Division was transferred to Camp Blanding, Florida, and in November of 1942 he was transferred to the newly formed 86th Infantry Division Headquarters in Camp Howze, Texas. In 1944 the 86th underwent intense maneauver training for three months in Louisiana, and the division then was transferred by troop train to Camp San Luis Obispo, California, in anticipation of an assignment to the Pacific Theatre.
After the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944, General Eisenhower requested all combat ready units to be transferred to the European Theatre to deal with the resurgent German advance, so the 86th was transferred to Boston where it embarked to LaHarve, France, in a 70-ship convoy. The 86th did not get into combat until the fighting was near the end in Belgium, and they crossed the Rhein River into Aachen and entered Germany in April 1945. Previously a part of the First Army, the 86th was sent South to join General Patton's Third Army, which crossed the Danube River at Inglotadt before capturing the cities of Freising and Erding.
After VE DAY the 86th remained in Europe for a few months but was sent to Luzon on the Philippine Islands in anticipation of the invasion of Japan. Following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the division remained as an occupation/administration unit in the Philippines until January 1946, when he was honorably discharged. He attained the rank of Master Sergeant and received the Armed Forces Service Medal, the European and Pacific Theatre Campaign Medals, and the Bronze Star.
In 1946 he resumed his education career at Boyertown, teaching history, mathematics and English at Boyertown High School, and he received his Master of Science degree from Temple University in 1950. From 1956 to 1960 he served as Elementary Supervisor and treasurer for the joint authority which oversaw the construction of the addition to the high school in 1957. In 1960 he returned to his first love, the classroom, where he finished his career teaching 12th grade Problems of Democracy until his retirement in 1980. During that time he founded Boyertown's Student Council . He took a keen interest in his students' welfare, and enjoyed their visits for years after their graduation.
In his community he served as Bechtelsville Borough Secretary from 1948 to 1958. In 1963 he was appointed to fill the open seat on the Bechtelsville Borough Council following the death of his father. He was elected 5 times and served as Council President for several years. He also helped organize the Bechtelsville Giants Baseball Club, played left field for the Giants for a number of years, and he was the team's manager when they captured the Berks County Championship in 1948. He was an avid fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees, and a season ticket holder for the Reading Phillies and Penn State football for many years. He also enjoyed many trips visiting friends and relatives in the United States and in Germany.
He is survived by three sons: Bruce C. (Anne) of State College, William A. of Baldwinsville, New York, and Robert C (Denise) of Coopersburg, three grandchildren, Brian Rohrbach, Jennifer Rohrbach and Aaron Rohrbach, and two great-grandchildren, Jack and Harry Rohrbach.
The Rev. Eugene C. Zaiser officiated services which were held in Trinity Lutheran Church, Bechtelsville, 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 26, 2014
A viewing will be Tuesday, March 25, 2014 between 7 – 9 p.m. at the Linwood W. Ott Funeral Home, Inc., 111 North Reading Avenue, Boyertown and Wednesday, March 26 between 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. at the church
Interment followed the service in Bechtelsville Union Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to Trinity Lutheran Church Trust Fund, 1749 S. Main Street, Bechtelsville, PA 19505.