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Jacqueline "Jackie" Rollfinke
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Obituary for Jacqueline "Jackie" Rollfinke

Jacqueline Rollfinke, 78, of South Middleton Township, died peacefully at home on May 16, 2018. The only child of the late William and Harriet Grill, she grew up in the New York City area.
Jackie graduated as valedictorian of her class at Tuckahoe High School, Tuckahoe, New York. She then went on to graduate summa cum laude and the valedictorian of her class at Bucknell University; she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year at Bucknell. During the summers of her college studies she attended Hunter College and the Graduate Faculties of Columbia University.
Jackie joined the faculty of Concordia College in Bronxville, New York as an instructor of English immediately after her graduation from Bucknell. A year later she married Dieter Rollfinke, then a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. During this time Jackie was employed as Assistant to the Personnel Administrator of the New York State Department of Commerce in Albany, New York. After Dieter’s graduation from R.P.I., the two moved back to the New York City metropolitan area, where Jackie worked as a writer and editor for the A.T.&T. Long Lines Division and Dieter studied for his master’s degree in German Language and Literature at Columbia University.
In 1964 the couple welcomed son Brian to the family and moved to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where Dieter had accepted a position with the Modern Languages Department at Dickinson College; during his early years of teaching German Dieter received a Ph.D. degree from The Johns Hopkins University.
Daughter Lee was born in 1970. As she contemplated her own future, Jackie reflected on her past as well, recalling the neglect and abuse that had characterized much of her childhood. She knew that she had no higher priority than giving her children happier beginnings in life. Thus Jackie spent the rest of her days enjoying the idyllic small-town life she had envisioned as a teenager when she had first fallen in love with Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town.”
Living in a college town gave Jackie opportunities for flexibility to put the family first. She sat in on several courses at Dickinson College and also was employed there temporarily in 1984 to help in coordinating an international symposium on the poetry of Jorge Luis Borges. Having developed an interest in politics, she participated in several campaigns on the local, statewide, and national levels, including the presidential bids of Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and Barack Obama. Because of her appreciation of the beauty of the local environment, Jackie took on the positions of President of Citizens to Preserve Thornwald Park and of the neighborhood group Marriet Acres Residents, and was a member of the Appalachian and National Audubon Societies. She had been a member of the Sweet Survivors Breast Cancer Group at the Hershey Medical Center for 32 years and of the OCD Support Group of Greater Harrisburg for 29 years. An extremely significant part of her life was her six years as a member of the First Church of the Brethren, where she learned much about peace and justice issues.
Jackie had some of her writing published during her lifetime, ranging from poetry for children to her winning entry in the Sentinel’s First Amendment Essay contest. In 1986 she and Dieter collaborated on turning his Ph.D. dissertation into a book-length manuscript entitled The Call of Human Nature, published by the University of Massachusetts Press. At the time of her death, she and Dieter had been working on a book about the writings of the late Nobel Laureate Heinrich Böll.
Jackie’s greatest joy in life, however, was her family. Although daughter Lee died tragically in 2011 of a pulmonary embolism, she was a vivacious artist and writer who had brought the Rollfinkes many good times. Brian married Sara Franklin in 1992, and their two sons, Maxwell (age 19) and Lucas (age 15) made Jackie a proud and happy grandmother. What especially thrilled her was the fact that the three generations shared two hobbies: baseball and birding. They took a number of trips to explore these interests, culminating in one that combined cheering for the Baltimore Orioles at their spring training camp in Sarasota with observing the marvelous birds of that region.
It was an odd time in the history of feminism to make the decision to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. Jackie was a staunch supporter of equal rights and opportunities for women; she admired the pluck of the countless women who were successful mothers with successful careers. But for a woman with Jackie’s personal history, the choice was the right one.
At the request of the family, a private memorial service will be held with the Reverend Noreen Mench officiating. Contributions in memory of Jackie may be made to the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, 2397 Quentin Road, Suite B, Lebanon, PA 17042 or to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama 36104.
To sign the guestbook, please visit www.HoffmanFH.com.


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Memorial Contribution

Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition

2397 Quentin Road
Suite B
Lebanon, PA 17042

Southern Poverty Law Center

400 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
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