By Clifford Mishler
Ed Rochette’s contributions to the welfare of the American Numismatic Association and our hobby community, in my opinion, were seminal and probably incalculable in importance over the more than half century of his active involvement.
Their range stretched from the “Numismapest” cartoon series he crafted and inaugurated in the July 5, 1954 edition of Numismatic News, through and beyond his return to serve on the ANA board (2007-2009) in its most recent time of crisis.
Our first interaction would have come in early 1961, not long after Ed had joined the News staff at Iola in November of 1960, an occasion attributable to my fledgling medal and token publishing efforts, for which I was seeking exposure. We met in person at Atlanta in 1961 when the ANA convention was being hosted there.
It was in early 1963, two years later, that I received a call from Ed inquiring if I might be interested in interviewing for a new editorial staff position that was open. Having driven into Iola on a bitterly cold late February morning, a job offer was forthcoming before I departed for home. Three weeks later I was taking up residence, the start of an active 50-year relationship that found Ed variously being my boss, confidant, peer and good friend.
Very creative as a cartoonist and writer, Ed was truly in his element when he discovered remote ties to numismatics. Much as a novelist, he could tie the known facts into a neat informative, entertaining and enjoyable package. Likewise, as he showed in his pioneering 1966 Medallic Portraits of John F. Kennedy reference, he was equally adept at digging out subject materials and the associated facts.
At the ANA Ed Rochette, again, in my opinion, contributed greater dedication to the organization, and quite possibly to the welfare of our hobby community, than any other person in its history, perhaps inclusive of founder Dr. George F. Heath. He variously over time pulled the ANA up by its bootstraps as editor, executive director, board member and president. Those accomplishments are legion.
While Ed and I didn’t always see eye to eye, even in the numismatic realm, but particularly in the political realm – he being a staunch Democrat and I a pretty committed Republican – those differences never colored our relationship. Possibly my view of him might be viewed as being a bit prejudiced, in maintaining my elevated assessment of the recognition he merits in our hobby, given that he was the instrumental force that plowed and seeded me into my Iola role.
Ed Rochette was the certainly consummate moral and dedicated professional to hold up as an example for selfless service to the ANA and our hobby community.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.
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