Patricia Joy Rohlf
1935 - 1996
Pat Rohlf taught music in several Seventh-day Adventist schools and in the public school system in southern Oregon. Although she was primarily a pianist, she was also proficient on several wind instruments and enjoyed playing the French horn most. She particularly liked teaching theory and music appreciation and enjoyed a reputation as an outstanding teacher who knew her subject and was able to help others learn.
Pat was born near Culver, Minnesota, to Earl E. Rohlf, Sr. and Ruth Borgen Rohlf, and grew up in a home where music was an important part of life. Her only brother, Earl (Blondie), later remembered how central an activity it was in their childhood years:
Friday night was a big thing in our home. Mom, who was a pretty fair pianist and organist, would play and my dad, who was a tremendous natural bass and could also play piano, would lead out as we would gather around the piano and sing.
While she was still a young child, she began study on piano. In those early years, the family moved to Michigan to be near a church school and then to Oregon, before returning to the Midwest and settling near Duluth, Minnesota, in 1950. She entered Maplewood Academy that year and graduated in 1954.
Rohlf was known as a passionate lover of classical music, especially the music of Mozart. Harriet Anderson, a classmate of Pat's at MWA, later recalled that Pat was a born musician who was very active in music while at the academy, where she took piano lessons and played clarinet in the band.
This interest in music continued when Rohlf enrolled at Union College as a nursing major. Sometime following capping exercises during her second year at UC, she decided to major in music. After graduating with a degree in music education and as a piano major in 1960, she taught at an SDA school in Wytheville, Virginia, and at Mile High Academy in Denver, Colorado. She subsequently moved to the West Coast, where she taught at Emerald Junior Academy in Eugene, Oregon.
While at EJA, she began to have health problems and decided to move to Medford, where her parents and brother were living. She taught in the public elementary school system in the area for a few years and then taught music part-time at the Rogue Valley Adventist School for several years.
Her brother recalled a story that his sister enjoyed telling about what happened when she did the H.M.S. Pinafore operetta while teaching at one of her public elementary schools:
Pat had a Finnish student, Ralph, who had a wonderful clear boy-soprano voice. She went to him with the music and said, "Ralph, I want you to look this over because I would really like to have you sing the lead part." He said, "OK,' and took the music. The next day he told her "I'll be glad to do that, I think I can do it just fine." Shortly after that she scheduled a rehearsal to familiarize the students with the work and told them to bring their parts. At the scheduled time, Ralph showed up - without his music. Pat said, "Ralph, we are going to go through this today. I told you to bring your score so you can see how it all works. Where is your music?" He pointed to the side of his head and said, "Its here." In those three days since he had been given the music he had memorized the whole score. She was both amazed and thrilled.
During this time, Rohlf also taught lessons in her home, where she maintained a private studio in spite of declining health. She was residing in Medford at the time of her death, at age sixty.
Based on information provided by Earl (Blondie) Rohlf and Gretchen Rohlf Pike, 2008.