Local Obits

Obituary of Lois R. Stafford


Lois R. Stafford, aged 101 and affectionately known as “Gramma 100”, peacefully passed away in her sleep in the early morning hours of April 13, 2014. Born to Joseph and Lena (Colby) Rabenstein on December 27, 1922, in Berkshire, NY, she was a beacon of light and warmth.


Lois was a cherished member of the Rabenstein family, sister to the late Charles (Doris) Rabenstein, the late Dorla (DeForest) Marsh, and the late Robert (Carol) Rabenstein. In 1948, she married the late Charles A Rochat Jr in a ceremony at the Berkshire Methodist church, marking the beginning of a shared life filled with love. Living first in Big Flats, NY and then Millerton, NY, they finally settled in Virgil, NY where they bought and renovated an old farm in 1955. Widowed in 1972, she found happiness again and married the late Fay H Stafford.

A graduate of Berkshire High School in 1940 where she was class valedictorian, Cornell University in 1947, and SUNY Cortland in 1966, Lois dedicated her life to education. She was a beloved first grade teacher at Dryden Elementary School, where her passion for teaching and love of children left an indelible mark on her students; at least one student plotted to fail so she could have Mrs. Rochat for her teacher again the next year. The plot failed once uncovered.

An avid gardener, master of scrabble, and a passionate bird watcher, Lois also graced many with her talent as a cook. Her famous brownies and deviled eggs were the highlights of many family gatherings. She graciously gifted thousands of brownies to all those who had helped her over the years. She was a long time member of the Little York Garden Club and Willowbrook Golf Club, where she was known for her skill around the greens. Her love of all things feathered was well known, often overtaking other activities while she pulled out her binoculars (which she always carried with her) to track down a bird in the wild. Lois also enjoyed traveling near and far – Spain, France, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, the Panama Canal, Hawaii, Alaska, Arizona, and many historic and garden sites up and down the East Coast of the United States.

She was predeceased by her parents, a stillborn older brother Edward LaVerne Rabenstein, husbands Charles A Rochat Jr and Fay H Stafford, two sons Robert R Rochat and Thomas E Rochat, her brothers Charles W Rabenstein and Robert Rabenstein, and sister Dorla May (Rabenstein) Marsh. Lois’s memory will be cherished and kept alive by her son Charles Rochat of Del City, OK, and daughter Jeannine (Jeff) Sprague of Virgil, NY, along with her grandchildren Lois (Louis) Loiselle of San Mateo, FL, David Rochat of Moore, OK, Kevin (Heather) Rochat of Bridge Creek, OK, Devon Perry of Norton, MA, Robert S Rochat of Del City, OK, Elisabeth (Joel) Fluger of Cortland, NY, and Olivia Sprague of Virgil, NY and great grandchildren Benjamin Rochat, Brooke Rochat, Madison Rochat, Daniel Rochat, Jacob Rochat, Owen Rochat, Olivia Rochat, Gavin Rochat, Alyssa Rochat, Demetrius Fluger, Eloise Fluger, and Thaddeus Fluger.

Calling hours to honor and celebrate the life of Lois R Rochat will be held on April 19, 2024, from 5 – 7pm and April 20, 2024 between 10am and noon at the Wright-Beard Funeral Home, located at 9 Lincoln Ave, Cortland, NY. Funeral services will be held following Saturday’s calling hours, at the Virgil United Methodist Church located on Church St in Virgil, NY beginning at 1pm. Burial will immediately follow at the Virgil Rural Cemetery.

Lois will be profoundly missed, but her spirit will continue to guide and inspire all who were blessed to know her. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Virgil Rural Cemetery c/o Sue Connelley – 1041 Church St, Virgil, NY 13045. Lois was a cemetery board member for many years and did much to promote and insure its survival for years to come.

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