COLUMBIANA, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – It was supposed to be a new beginning, instead, Michael Thomas Rochford’s family learned that their son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin was gone on Sunday, July 12, 2020.

Michael, from Columbiana, died of health complications related to drugs he had taken during a gathering at a home in Youngstown. 

Michael was born on February 20, 1986 in Warren, Ohio, the son of Tommy and Loretta (Salman) Rochford.  He was 34 years old.

Michael chose to live his life freely both before and after serving years in prison. After being released in March of this year, Michael reconnected with family and friends, obtained his driver’s license and secured a job. Michael was open about his struggles in life, mistakes he had made and choices he could have made better. Despite these attributes, his strong attitude, along with a fierce drive and loving heart, are some of the things that he is defined by. He loved his family deeply, had dreams of a future career and having children of his own. He fought hard for these aspirations all the way until the end.

His family feels that honesty about his death will help break the stigma about addicts. Michael was feisty and outspoken but would do anything for anyone and always had a smile and sense of humor even while struggling to find his way in the world. Michael believed strongly in second chances, maybe because he craved another chance for himself. His family hopes that his story can maybe help just one more addict push even harder for another day of sobriety, encourage an active user to choose recovery, or further shine a light on this horrible epidemic.

Addiction doesn’t discriminate and hides in the faces of people all around us. Its effect is damaging on the families and people who love them. Michael isn’t just another statistic or “another one gone too soon.” His heart was big. He was full of passion to live life to the fullest. He envisioned a bright future. Michael is a gift that the world lost and can never be replaced. The best way to honor Michael is for people who read this or knew him to think twice before you judge an addict. While an addict has to be willing to help themselves, it certainly takes the help and support from others too.

Michael will be deeply missed by his mom, Loretta; sister, Nicole; grandmas, Karren Christley and Margie Rochford and many aunts and uncles, Don and Karin Christley, Kelly and Scott Daum, Randy and Julie Horvath, Colleen and Bill Nagy, Lisa and Ron Oldland, Karen and Ed Pierson, Kevin and Rebecca Rochford, Margie and Jay Stanwood and Carrie (his Godmother) and Kevin Taylor. He also leaves behind 21 “Rochford cousins” and cousins, Hannah Taylor, Matthew Christley and Nina Christley (his Goddaughter).

Michael was preceded in death by his dad, Tommy, who he lost far too early at the young age of 6; three grandfathers, Carl Christley, Thomas Rochford and Fehmy Salman; his grandmother, Patricia Salman; his aunt, Mary Ann Horvath and his uncle, Jeff Rochford.

A private funeral service was held for the family on Friday, July 17, 2020 at Fox Funeral Home, 4700 Market Street, Boardman, by Celebrant Father Tom Ziegler.

Michael will be laid to rest next to his father at Calvary Cemetery.

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

A television tribute will air Monday, July 20, 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.