Services for former American Numismatic Association President and Executive Director Edward C. Rochette are scheduled for 1 pm on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Shove Chapel on the grounds of Colorado College, 1010 N. Nevada Avenue in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Rochette, 90, died on January 18 in Colorado Springs, where he lived most of his life. He was born on February 17, 1927, in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Friends and family remember Rochette’s sparkling wit, creative spirit, astute mind and strong moral compass, which he relied upon to guide his life and family. He developed a love for numismatics as a youngster, when he regularly searched the cash drawer at his grandfather’s diner for collectable coins.
He served as an electrician in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and attended Clark University in Worcester and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Rochette began his professional numismatic career as a cartoonist and editor for Numismatic News, printed in lola, Wisconsin, by Krause Publications. Later, he served the company as executive editor. In 1966 he left Iola to become editor of The Numismatist, the ANA’s official journal. In this role, Rochette had a front-row seat for the construction of the Association’s new headquarters, which began on the Colorado College campus about the same time he (and later his family) moved to Colorado Springs.
He sat in the editor’s chair until 1972, when he was tapped to serve as ANA executive vice president. Rochette was at the helm when a drive was launched in 1980 to finance a second-story addition that would expand the ANA’s Money Museum, Library and staff offices. On June 10, 1982, he was on hand to welcome guests and dignitaries to the official dedication.
Rochette retired as ANA executive vice president in 1986, and in 1987 was elected to its Board of Governors, going on to serve as vice president in 1989-91 and president in 1991-93. In 1998 Rochette was called out of retirement to serve as ANA executive director, and in 2000 he spearheaded and oversaw a second renovation of the headquarters.
Rochette officially retired from the ANA in July 2003. Thanks to a $500,000 contribution from an anonymous donor and his longtime friend, mentor and employer Chester Krause, the ANA Money Museum was renamed in Rochette’s honor in 2005. Two years later, he ran successfully for the ANA Board and served a term as governor.
Rochette was a prolific and popular author, penning columns for The Numismatist, COINage and a nationally syndicated column for the Los Angeles Times. His books included Medallic Portraits of John F. Kennedy (1966), Making Money: Rogues and Rascals Who Made Their Own (1986) and The Romance of Coin Collecting (1991).
In the late 1960s, Rochette collaborated with Lieutenant Colonel Adna G. Wilde Jr., then ANA executive director, to introduce the weeklong ANA Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs. He also was instrumental in developing a numismatic exhibit for the International Olympic Committee’s museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, and served as a numismatic consultant to the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
In 1987 he was general chairman of the 50th Anniversary Congress and Exhibition of the Fédération Internationale de la Médaille (FIDEM), a global organization of medallic artists. The event was hosted by the American Numismatic Association, marking the first time FIDEM convened in the United States.
Rochette received numerous numismatic accolades and awards, including the highest honor conferred by the ANA, the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for Distinguished Service (1987), and the ANA’s Lifetime Achievement Award (1999). In 2000 he was inducted into the Numismatic Hall of Fame at the ANA’s Colorado Springs facility. According to author and ANA Past President Q. David Bowers, “Next to the Association’s founder George F. Heath, no one has done more for the ANA than Ed Rochette.”
Rochette is survived by his wife of 40 years, Mary Ann; three sons (Edward, Paul and Philip) by his first wife, Faye (who died in 1977); four stepchildren (Joseph, Michael, Paul and Susan); 14 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Donations in his memory can be made to the ANA Money Museum, 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903.