William James Kenneth Rockwell died peacefully in his sleep with his children by his side on November 24, 2014.
Ken was born on March 18, 1931, in Paris, France, to the late Colonel Paul Ayres and Prue Smith Rockwell. He was raised in Asheville, NC, where he attended Christ School, graduating 1948. He attended Washington and Lee University in the Naval ROTC program and earned his BA in French and sociology, 1952. He then served as a lieutenant in the US Navy for 2 years. After earning his medical degree from Duke University Medical School in 1961, he began his residency in psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic and completed it at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC, 1965. While working in Washington, DC, he married Meta Allen Eberdt in September 1967. In 1968, after a year in Alabama, he joined the Department of Psychiatry at Duke Medical Center, and the couple moved to Durham where they raised their family. While at Duke he specialized in helping those with eating disorders and was instrumental in building the student mental health program, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). He considered working with students the highlight of his career. He completed his career working in geriatrics at John Umstead Hospital.
In addition to his devotion to helping his patients, he had many passions, including his family, family history, music, reading, songbirds, tennis, bowling and power walking, hunting and fishing, singing in the boys choir and glee club, photography and fine food and drink. He was an independent thinker and encouraged independent thinking in others. He was known for his sense of humor and wit and could be counted on for a good joke or limerick. A loyal friend, he maintained the art of letter writing throughout his life.
He is survived by his first daughter, Sybil Rockwell Robb; his second daughter, Marcelle Rockwell Jackson; his son Paul Ayres Rockwell II; and four grandchildren, Eleanor Durant Robb, Charles Rockwell Robb, William James Rockwell and James Richard Robb.
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He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, his brother, Kiffin Yates Rockwell II of New York, NY, and his sister, Loula Ayres Rockwell Brown of Asheville, NC.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to the WJ Kenneth Rockwell, MD Research Endowment Fund for the Investigation of Eating Disorders @ DUMC (mail check to: Elizabeth Hopkins, Duke Medicine Development, 710 W. Main St, Ste 200, Durham, NC 27701, with note in memo: for the WJ Kenneth Rockwell, MD Research Endowment Fund) or the Paul Ayres Rockwell Library Endowment Fund at Washington and Lee University (mail check to: The Paul Ayres Rockwell Library Endowment Fund, Washington and Lee University, c/o Development Office, 204 W. Washington St, Lexington, VA 24450, with note in memo: in memory of WJK Rockwell).
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, December 6, 2014 at the Chapel of the Cross on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.
Arrangements are with Howerton-Bryan Funeral Home, 1005 West Main St., Durham NC 27701.