Clarence Rochat – Member profile

Hometown: Knoxville, TN

Born: October 8, 1919

clarence-rochatHave you ever known anyone who can say that they personally witnessed the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima? Now you do. Meet Clarence Rochat.

Clarence was a witness to this famous event that took place back in February of 1945. He was stationed on a Destroyer at the time, and was on the deck as five Marines and one Sailor raised the flag on Mount Suribachi. This event became a popular icon of that battle, and of the Marine Corp itself, as Joe Rosenthal’s photo of the flag raising was widely distributed and became a popular symbol of the dominance of the U.S. Military.

Clarence graduated from Central High School here in Knoxville, and after spending 2 years studying at the University of Tennessee, he entered the military. While in the service, Clarence spent time aboard a Battleship in the South Pacific. It was from that Battleship that he was sent to Notre Dame, where he received his commission in the United States Navy as an officer. He finished his service to our country on the Destroyer that was positioned off the coast as the U.S. captured Iwo Jima from the Japanese Empire.

Ironically, if you were to ask Clarence what his favorite vacation spot is today, he would tell you that he loves to cruise the world on the deck of a cruise ship. If he is not on a ship, you can probably find Clarence on a golf course somewhere in the Knoxville area.

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Clarence and Hazel circa 1957

Clarence and his late wife, Hazel Jenkins Rochat, joined Eastminster Presbyterian in March of 1957. They raised 3 children: Rebecca, Susan (Joiner), and Phillip. Clarence has been blessed with 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

Clarence worked for many years as an Electrical Engineer, working first for KUB before finishing his career with TVA. He is a member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.

One thing that not many people may know about Clarence is that as a youngster he could “out run a jack rabbit.” Clarence says that when his son was about 8 years old, he could run faster backwards that Phillip could run forward.

Clarence has been the back bone of the Eastminster family through the years. He seldom misses a workday, is an active participant in Eastminster On Tour, and is one of our most faithful members.

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