Harold Rohlfing, 84

Veteran, teacher, musician

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Harold T. Rohlfing, 84, of Elmhurst, formerly of Oak Park, died on Jan. 9, 2018. Born on Aug. 9, 1933 to Johanna and Richard, he grew up on the Concordia Teacher's College campus in River Forest, now known as Concordia University Chicago, following his dad through the halls of the music rooms, hearing and seeing music taught and made. Baptized at Grace Lutheran, he attended its school, and became a lifelong member of the church. He also attended Oak Park and River Forest High School where he demonstrated great interest and facility with music. In high school, his parents bought him a fine Heckel Bassoon, an instrument that was an important part of his life to the very end. 

He pursued a career as a musician and music educator, receiving both a bachelor's and master's in music education at Northwestern University. Between degrees, he married Caryl and promptly left town to serve in the U.S. Army, where he put his music degree to work as a chaplain's assistant, at one time playing organ for Easter services in the Underground Pentagon for the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

After his Army service, the couple returned to Chicago where Harold picked up his father's teaching responsibilities at Concordia and also taught at Grace School where he introduced hundreds of young people to music — teaching them their first instruments and introducing them to the Grace School Band. He passed on much musical talent to those he taught at Concordia as well.

He accomplished much during his lifetime and excelled at so many things. He pursued his life with great energy and passion and, most importantly to those closest to him, he developed deep relationships and gave much of himself to others.  

Harold Rohlfing was the husband of Caryl (nee Leininger); the father of Gregory (Cindy), Joan Rohlfing (Pallav Das), Anne (Peter) Peregrine, William (Sheila Dougherty) Rohlfing, and the late Julia (Douglas) Clemons; the grandfather of Amy and Ellen Rohlfing, Arjun Rohlfing-Das, Alison and Katherine Peregrine, Ellery Rohlfing and Richard, Grace and Sophia Clemons; the brother of John (Virginia) and the late Richard (the late Doris) Rohlfing; and the uncle of many. 

A memorial visitation will be held on Saturday, Feb. 3 from 10 a.m. until the time of service, 11 a.m., at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division St. in River Forest 60305, with private interment at Concordia Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, donations to Bach Cantata Vespers, c/o Grace Lutheran Church, www.graceriverforest.org/giving, are appreciated by the family. 

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