YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – I, Loretta Rochford, at the young age of 57, lost my life to a long list of comorbidities which grew aggressively over the last few months. I was never one to comply with the advice given to me by those in my life, whether they be a loved one or a medical professional.

I preferred Oreos over veggies, cigarettes over gum and vodka over soda. Some may have looked at my lifestyle and saw a woman in need of help but I was always able to stand my ground, content with making decisions for myself and living the life I chose.

I was the daughter of Fehmy Salman and Karren Christley. Born October 4, 1964 in Youngstown, Ohio.

After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1983, I went on to college where I received a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice.

My degree took me to a career at a women’s correctional facility in Cleveland for over seven years.

In 1988, I married the love of my life, Tom Rochford, Jr. My marriage came with many happy memories, as well as many hardships. The highlights being our two children, Michael (born 1986) and Nicole (born 1990). Tom and I had spent some wonderful years together with the kids. Sadly, in July 1992, I became a widow at the age of 28 and our children lost their father when Tom was shot and killed.

As the years followed, being a single mom was challenging. Though I tried my best, many people questioned my parenting style. And to that I had just one thing to say— don’t judge a book by its cover.

My children became adults and life still threw me curveballs. In July 2020, I lost my son, Michael, to drugs laced with Fentanyl. He lived a hard life but was loved by many.

My daughter, Nicole, attended college and built her life in North Carolina with her partner, Joe. My first beautiful granddaughter, Nora, was born last August. I was able to visit and spend time with her a couple of times this past year. My second granddaughter, Mia, will arrive in a few weeks. Unfortunately, due to my untimely death I will never get to meet her.

If there is one thing I will be remembered for, I know it would be that I had more lives than a cat. It was even hard for me to believe how I managed to survive substance abuse, alcohol addiction, many health ailments and unthinkable hardships. I had a knack for taking and not giving much in life. Without a doubt I was one of the most non-compliant patients a doctor, nurse or caretaker could ask for. I lived a life full of bad choices, however, the important thing is that I knew l had to take full responsibility for my actions and because of the things I had done, I ended up knocking on death’s door more than the average individual. I guess this time I left that door open a bit too long and the end of my life creeped up on me quicker than I ever wanted it to. I wanted to live… I really did. In fact, that was exactly some of the last words I said to my sister-in-law, Karen. She always stood by me and helped me when I was most alone in life. She was my number one advocate to the end.

I wanted my family and friends to forgive me for my poor choices, to give me the opportunity to speak with them one more time, to have a chance for all of us to realize that after all these years… life really is too short to hold grudges and have regrets. As Socrates once said…”Those who are hardest to love need it the most”.

I can’t wait to rejoice and dance in Heaven with my dad, Fehmy Salman; stepmom, Patricia Salman; stepdad, Carl Christley; father-in-law, Tom Rochford, Sr.; sister-in-law, Mary Ann (Rochford) Horvath and brother-in-law, Jeff Rochford. Most importantly, to be reunited with the two men in my life that were gone too soon, my loving husband, Tommy and our spirited son, Michael.

Left behind are my mom, Karren Christley; sisters, Carrie (Kevin) Taylor and Lisa (Ron) Oldland and brothers, Don (Karin) Christley and Tom (Carolyn) Brown.

I will deeply miss living on the “Rochford Compound” (in Columbiana) with my dear mother-in-law, Margie Rochford, who always treated me as if I was her own. Along with my sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Margie and Jay Stanwood, Karen and Ed Pierson, Kevin and Rebecca Rochford, Colleen and Bill Nagy, Kelly and Scott Daum and Randy and Julie Horvath.

I will also miss my many nieces and nephews and all the fun family gatherings I was included in.

I could never forget my two furry friends, Cain and Abel. After the loss of Cain, Abel was by my side for the last ten years of my life. In fact, he was my life (along with cooking shows and movies)! I want to thank Karen Harrold for always watching Abel during my many hospital stays over the years and the Nagy family for taking him and continuing to love him. Abel will always hold a special place in my heart.

Lastly, I will especially miss my daughter, Nicole and her partner, Joe Johnson and my granddaughters, Nora (11 Months) and Mia (who is to be born on August 18). Nora and Mia were a ray of hope for me and had become my reason to live….but in the end I just lost the fight.

I wish I would have attended Mass more often and spent more time with my faith. I was a member of St. Jude Church in Columbiana. A private service will be held for me by Celebrant Father Tom Ziegler after Mia is born.

As per my wishes, I will be laid to rest with Tommy and Michael at Calvary Cemetery.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish to thank all of those who have had the pleasure of putting up with my highs and lows and my constant cries for food and drinks over these past few months. I am so appreciative for the great care I was given by all those at St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital, Greenbriar Healthcare Center and my short 18 hours with Sanctuary Hospice. My sister-in-law, Karen and I, are forever grateful for all of the compassion and constant care you have given me. I will especially remember all my new friends I made at Greenbriar these past few months.

This is not goodbye. As many of you know, I was a strong woman with an even louder personality. Life has always been a bit crazy for me but I am at peace now. I hope everyone who reads this will live their life to the fullest, as well as be kind and forgiving and remember that “when someone is going through a storm your silent presence is more powerful than a million empty words”.

Thanks especially to Brad Loew for helping Karen plan yet another funeral!

In lieu of gifts I would prefer you offer a kind word to a stranger that may be lonely or without friends and family to care for or visit them. That would mean the world to them. Also, have a dessert or drink for me or send a beautiful card to my daughter and granddaughters in memory of me. I would prefer that over flowers. 🙂

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Edward J. Fox & Sons Funeral Home, 4700 Market Street, Boardman, OH 44512. Family and friends of Loretta may visit to leave condolences for the Rochford family.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Loretta S. Rochford, please visit our floral store.

A television tribute will air Friday, July 29 at the following approximate times: 5:17 a.m. on WKBN, 8:39 a.m. on FOX, 5:21 p.m. on WYTV and 6:35 p.m. on MyYTV.