Bonners Ferry’s heart and spirit succumbs to COVID-19

At 7:27 p.m. Pacific Time, on this day, December 7, 2020, Bonners Ferry lost its most beloved son, a man who never lost his innocence despite his seven decades as the heart and spirit of our community, to the pandemic ravaging our world, COVID-19. It is with great sadness we must report that Rockey Burkholder ascended to Heaven with the assistance of an unfathomable number of angels.

For one last time, Rockey’s hand is embraced in his mother Valdie Burkholder’s hand, gloved as she slowly recovers from the illness that claimed her son.

“The incredible staff at Bonner General Hospital accommodated us being with Rockey in his isolation room,” his brother-in-law Marty Becker said. “His primary nurse told us about 20-minutes before Rockey passed, that during her lunch hour today, she read all of the cards that had been sent to Rockey. She said, ‘In 30-years of nursing, I’ve never seen a patient receive such a volume of mail, nor such poignant, heartfelt, loving messages.’ She added, ‘In reading these, I was blessed as much as he was and sobbed for most of the time.’

“Thank you for your prayers, love and support. I’m going to include photos because I want you to see the suffering COVID causes the patient, the family and the caregivers. Thank you God for answering our prayers to end Rockey’s suffering almost immediately after we lifted up the request.”

Get ready angels. You’re about to find out how beautiful and skinny you are.

Service arrangements and his obituary are pending. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends and to the community that so loved him.