Dakota Diary

Richard and Echo Rockafellow are helpful members of the Philip community, and reside four miles north of town.

The couple raised three children; Rhonda and her husband, Rick Coyle, Philip, Judy, Bozeman, MT, and Mark and his wife, Lisa, Tea. Richard and Echo have two granddaughters and four grandsons, and two great-grandsons and one great-granddaughter.

Richard was an only child born in Chamberlain. He went to grade school there until third grade, then moved to Quinn to live with his grandparents. After attending a rural school just north of Quinn for one year, Richard moved back to Chamberlain. He then moved with his mother and her husband to Worthington, MN for one year. Then, they picked up and moved to Tampa, FL for one year.

When Richard was a sophomore, he moved back to Quinn, where he met, and went to high school with Echo. Richard lived with his aunt and uncle on a ranch near Quinn. When he was in high school, he helped his aunt and uncle out a lot on the ranch. Richard started playing baseball when he was young, and in 1951, he started playing amateur baseball. He graduated from Quinn High School in 1955.

After high school, Richard went to Black Hills State University for one year, and then transferred to college in Chadron, NE.

Echo was born in Rapid City, and grew up in Quinn with her parents, and one sister. She attended grade school there, and graduated from Quinn High School in 1956. After high school, Echo attended Chadron State College for one year, along with Richard.

Echo and Richard were married in Philip the summer of 1957. After a year of marriage, Echo had her first daughter in 1958. Then, Richard and Echo moved back to Spearfish in order for Richard to complete his college education. During the summers, the Rockafellows moved back to Philip and Quinn. Richard graduated from Black Hills State University with a business education teaching degree, as well as a coaching degree.

Following college graduation, Richard accepted a teaching position in Buffalo Gap. Richard and his family lived there for three years. In 1960, Echo had another baby girl.

The Rockafellows moved East River to Carthage in 1962. Richard taught and coached at the school there. While living in Carthage, in 1963, Echo had a baby boy. In the fall of 1964, they moved to Ringsted, IA where Richard taught and coached for eight years. After that, Richard completed his masters degree at Northwest Missouri State University. During that time, Echo stayed home and watched their children.

Richard took a high school principal job in 1972 in Springfield. In 1973, Echo suffered from a stroke. The Rockafellow family moved to Midland in 1975 where Richard was superintendent of the schools for three years.

Richard, Echo and family then moved to Geddes. Richard was the junior/senior high school superintendent, high school principal and athletic director. They lived in Geddes for 21 years.

After 40 years, Richard retired from education. Richard and Echo then moved to Philip in 1999.

Over the years, Richard has been very active in amateur baseball. He was a member of the South Dakota Umpire Hall of Fame and a member of the South Dakota Baseball Hall of Fame as a player. Richard is the vice president and umpire in chief of the South Dakota amateur Baseball Association.

Richard has played many baseball games throughout the years. His wife, Echo, always enjoyed taking their children to watch the games. The families of the baseball players had a good time getting together for picnics after baseball games.

Richard currently starts and referees track meets, and this year he got to start the State 'B' Boys track meet.

Richard has helped the Philip Scottie sports teams out quite a bit over the past years. He currently helps with football stats, and hauls all of the football pads and equipment to away games in his vehicle. Richard also keeps score at boys basketball games, and drives the bus for the team to away games.

Echo and Richard both agree that Philip is a very friendly community, and enjoy living here. "Philip has everything; doctors, a dentist, a nice grocery store. It has everything we need without living in a big city," Richard commented.

Richard enjoys golfing, fishing and camping in his spare time. Both Richard and Echo love spending their free time with their grandchildren.