May 21, 1921 - Dec. 29, 2015
MISHAWAKA - Rocco, 94 years old, passed away naturally and peacefully at his home early Tuesday morning after a long illness.
He was preceded by his father and mother, Frank and Josephine Germano, his Uncle Tony Germano, and his brother Dominic Germano. He is survived by his wife of sixty five years, Betty (Lemler) Germano, sister Catherine Koscielski, brother Tony Germano (Ann), sisters-in-law, Shirley Muldoon and Jean Jewell, and his six children, Emily Goethals (Kenneth) of Bremen, Dr. Alan Germano (Lesa) of Boise, Idaho, John Germano (Barbara) of Indianapolis, Lisa Germano of Mishawaka, Richard Germano (Nancy) of Indianapolis, and Maria Rhoda (Patrick) of Indianapolis. His grandchildren are Haley Lake (Reuben), Max Germano (Kelsey), Chloe Germano, John Germano, Joe Germano, Brandon Kimes, Danny Rhoda, Gordon Rhoda and many nieces and nephews.
Rocco was born in Plati, Italy and lived there with his mother while his father came to Mishawaka to work at U.S. Rubber Company. He immigrated here with his mother at the age of eight, learned English and was soon found to be a child prodigy on the violin. He graduated from Mishawaka High School, attended Notre Dame and the Chicago Musical College where he earned a Master's Degree in Musical Performance, and met the love of his life, Betty, on the South Shore, during their commute.
Rocco served in World War II in the Office of Strategic Services O.S.S., playing the violin entertaining the troops, and was present at the Potsdam Conference along with Mickey Rooney and pianist, Eugene List. He was also a member of the American Legion.
He played in several orchestras including New Orleans Symphony, Boston Pops, Chicago Lyric Theater, Grant Park Symphony, Chicago Symphony and the South Bend Symphony. He went on to become a pioneer and pillar of the South Bend musical scene and is awarded a place at the South Bend Community Hall of Fame in the Century Center.
Rocco founded the South Bend Youth Symphony with Robert Demaree and Kenneth Geoffroy and was the conductor for the first thirty-five years. He also conducted the Twin Cities Concert Band for years of summer concerts at the local parks and was musical director of many musicals at the Country Playhouse and other venues in the community.
He taught choir at St. Mary's College and Riley High School and orchestra at Adams High School. He was also one of the founders of the South Bend Chamber Music Society and a member and delegate of the South Bend Federation of Musicians. Rocco was a lover of nature and the cook of the house. He taught all six kids the art of mushroom hunting and cooking his many delicacies.
A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Monica Catholic Church, Mishawaka on Saturday, January 2nd, 2016 at 11:00 am. Friends will be received one hour prior to the Mass at the church on Saturday. Burial will take place at Fairview Cemetery, Mishawaka. The family would like to thank all the many people who helped Rocco over the years with his illness: Tonie, Paula, Tonah, Linda, Monique, and Janet. Donations can be made to Center for Hospice Care, 111 Sunnybrook Court, South Bend, IN 46637.