John W. “Bill” Rock

Bill Rock

John W. “Bill” Rock, age 95, died peacefully on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in Oshkosh, Wis. Bill was born on Feb. 12, 1927, at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton, Wis., the son of A.P. (1896-1978) and Helen Williams Rock (1898-1987). Bill graduated from St. John High School in Little Chute, Wis., on June 4, 1944. He enlisted in the U.S. Marines in January 1945 and served aboard the U.S.S. Bunker Hill and U.S.S. S. Heintzelman. He was honorably discharged as a corporal in 1947. He attended UW-Madison for a year. The next five years, Bill studied to be a priest with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Bill left his studies for the priesthood and in 1955 married Marjorie Janet Kiefer (D. 2009). Later that year he joined Wisconsin Telephone (AT&T) in Beloit as a lineman. During his 36-year career, Bill served in sales and later as a commercial manager of the West Bend service area from 1968-78. Active in community affairs, Bill joined the West Bend Rotary Club in 1968.  He was charter president of the West Bend Chamber of Commerce and president of the United Way. Bill served on the West Bend Planning Commission and several Washington County community service boards. In 1979, Bill joined the AT&T anti-trust staff in Orlando, Fla. He returned to Madison in 1982 as Wisconsin Bell’s (Ameritech/AT&T) Community Relations Manager for Western Wisconsin until retirement in 1991. Bill was a charter director of the Monona Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Rotary Club of Madison South and a level four Paul Harris Fellow. He was a member of AT&T Telecom Pioneers of America. In 2011, Bill joined fellow World War II veterans along with his son, Kevin, aboard the Badger Honor Flight to Washington D.C. Bill was a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Monona, and a Knight of Columbus.

Bill is survived by his children, Timothy Joseph of Milwaukee, Kelly Ann (Prof. Bruce Atwell) of Oshkosh, Thomas Michael (Tammy) of Appleton and Kathryn Mary (Blaine Schultz) of Milwaukee; 13 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. The family was saddened by the untimely death of son, Kevin Patrick, in 2013, at age 51.

On May 16, 1987, Bill married Verdeen Marie (Nolte) Duffy. They lived happily in Monona and were married for 33 years before her death in November 2020.

Bill is also survived by Verdeen’s six children, David (Gale), Gerry (Kathy), Mark, Patricia Sternad (John), Dan (Kristin) and Jackie Bacon (Kevin); ten grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Bill’s interests included hunting, biking, camping, fishing, boating, photography, bowling, model railroading, and writing.  A storyteller at heart, he self-published a detailed family history inspired by his Mom and Grandpa Charlie. He was a Civil War buff, especially devoted to his hero, President Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday he shared. Anyone who really knew Bill, was made aware of that fact. Bill hunted and fished with his lifelong friend, William “Bill” Chryst, of Beloit. Bill is further survived by his companion, Carole Jaworski.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5101 Schofield St., Monona, at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022, with Father Chad Droessler presiding. Family and friends who wish to view the Mass via LIVE STREAM may visit Bill’s obituary page at and click on the Live Webcast link at 1 p.m. on Thursday. A visitation will be held at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison, from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School would be appreciated by the family.

“For thy faithful, Oh Lord, life is changed, not taken away, and this earthly dwelling being dissolved a new one is prepared in heaven.”

Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East

Funeral & Cremation Care

5203 Monona Drive

(608) 221-5420