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Published: Saturday, 8/5/2006

Carpenter also served as inspector, constable

WHITEFORD CENTER - Bernard Rochowiak, 74, a carpenter by trade who became building inspector of Monroe County's Whiteford Township and was an elected township constable, died of cancer on Wednesday in St. Anne Mercy Hospital, Toledo.

Mr. Rochowiak was township building inspector from about 1976 until last month.

"My dad was never going to sit down and put his feet up," said his daughter, Bernice Heidelberg, Whiteford Township clerk.

He drew from his experience in carpentry and construction as he made sure township residents got the work they paid for. Those in the building trades "knew when they walked into Whiteford Township what Bernie expected," his daughter said. "If they didn't, they learned."

A Democrat, he was elected a township constable in 1978. He did not seek re-election in 2002 and retired from that position. His duties included serving warrants and notices of ordinance violations; conducting liquor inspections, and traffic control.

"He did many things above and beyond the call of duty," his daughter said. "He wasn't a guy to sing his own accolades."

The township trustees in 2002 honored his service to the community by selecting him for the annual Minuteman Award. The Michigan Constables and Peace Officers Association, of which he was a member, selected him Constable of the Year.

Mr. Rochowiak grew up in Monroe County and attended Central Catholic High School in Toledo. He left school to help his father operate a service station and auto repair business.

He worked for a farmer and then became a carpenter employed by building firms. He went into business for himself in the early 1970s, building houses and garages and taking on remodeling projects. He left the trade in the early 1980s.

Mr. Rochowiak was sexton of the cemetery at St. Anthony Church, Temperance.

Surviving are his wife, Harriet, whom he married on May 22, 1954; daughter, Bernice Heidelberg; sons, Gerald and Carl Rochowiak; sisters, Alice Crumpler, Rosemary Reeder, and Dorothy Trouten; brother, Leon Rochowiak; six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the Bedford Funeral Chapel, Temperance, after 2 p.m. tomorrow. Scripture services will be held in the mortuary at 8 p.m. tomorrow, followed by a recitation of the Rosary. Funeral services will begin at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Anthony Church.

The family suggests tributes to the church.

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