Erica Meyer Rockstroh was born on June 10, 1930, and passed away Tuesday, June 21, at the age of 92.
She was an honored educator and a winner of the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge Classroom Teachers Medal in 1973. She was married to Frank Harry Rockstroh from 1952 until his passing in 2012. Known for her kindness and generosity, her presence will be missed by all who knew her.
Born in Berlin, Germany, her parents were Henrich Meyer and Lieselotte Kohn. She escaped Nazi Germany on a Kindertransport in the company of her older sister, Gisela Meyer Spielberg, with a few family valuables sewn by her mother into the lining of their clothes. Upon reaching the shores of the United Kingdom, the sisters were placed with British citizens willing to provide homes for refugee Jewish children. A portion of Erica’s family legacy is chronicled at the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.
Erica and her sister were reunited in August 1940 with their parents, who escaped separately from Germany. The family then emigrated to the United States on the last refugee transport ship before the U.S. entered the war in Europe. The journey to New York’s Ellis Island was in constant peril across the U-boat-ridden North Atlantic. After a stay with relatives in New York, the Meyer family settled in Atlanta, a growing city conducive to her father’s ambition to start a scrap metal enterprise. That business became the Southern Metal Company located on Highland Avenue.
Despite the hardships of her youth, Erica remained young at heart and a lifelong optimist, known for her combination of openness and abiding sense of responsibility. These defining character traits guided her toward a life dedicated to education and aiding children in need. Erica attended Atlanta Public Schools, graduating from North Fulton High School. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education at the University of Georgia in 1952 and her Master of Education at Georgia State University.
During a 30-year career in the DeKalb County school system, Erica taught at Skyland, Woodward and Gresham Park Elementary Schools. Throughout the years she was approached often by former students who expressed gratitude for the positive influence she had had on their lives. After her retirement in 1991, Erica spent her time caring for her grandchildren, traveling with her husband and continuing to protect at-risk children as a volunteer for the DeKalb County Juvenile Court/Family Services System.
Erica also believed that through political action in local and national politics we could make a better world. She volunteered on many local and national Democratic Party campaigns, including attending the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta.
Erica is survived by her children and their spouses: Philip and Angela Rockstroh, Esther and Donald Taylor; her grandchildren, Erica Taylor, William Taylor, August Rockstroh.
A Memorial/Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. All are invited to sign the guestbook at www.csog.com/obit/erica-meyer-rockstroh/. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made “in memory of Erica M. Rockstroh” to DeKalb County CASA Program, http://dekalbcasa.org/donate/.
- Erica Meyer Rockstroh
- Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge Classroom Teachers Medal
- William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
- Ellis Island
- Southern Metal Company
- Atlanta Public Schools
- North Fulton High School
- University of Georgia
- Georgia state university
- Gresham Park Elementary Schools
- DeKalb County Juvenile Court/Family Services System
- Democratic Party
- DeKalb County CASA Program