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John Thomas Rolfes
John Thomas Rolfes passed away peacefully on February 16, 2021 in the comfort of his home in Lexington, KY after 89 turns around the sun.
The second of five children, Tom was born on May 24, 1931 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Frank and Rose Rolfes. He was preceded in passing by his wife of 39 years, Dr. Carol M. Cottrill. He is survived by two sisters; Ruth and Rose; six children; John Cottrill, Elgin Cottrill, Dr. Hope Cottrill, Benjamin Cottrill, Joseph Rolfes, Megan Rolfes, seven wonderful grandchildren; Asha Ari, Kiran Ari, Moira Rolfes, Aven Cottrill, Liam Rolfes, Conor Rolfes, and Declan Rolfes; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Tom was a humble man of vast knowledge and many talents. He was ordained a priest on May 25, 1957 in Cincinnati and taught at a Catholic high school for many years. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1973 with a Masters in Theology. He left the church to marry his soul mate, Carol, and continued his life of service by earning a master’s degree in social work. He worked with Hospice of the Bluegrass in Lexington and offered many individuals great comfort and solace in their final days. He had multiple business endeavors before retiring to travel and assist his wife with medical missions in Guatemala, Ecuador, Cambodia, and even Kenya. He loved aviation, building things and clocks. He became a pilot and rebuilt his Cessna airplane; he became a husband and built a cabin; and there were so many clocks, you couldn’t get a good night’s sleep in the house.
Tom devoted his life to both the service of God and to others. Leading by example, he and Carol adopted three medically complex children and cared for over twenty foster children throughout the years. They provided a home for international children in need of medical care and study abroad students.
Tom defined life with his unconditional love, limitless compassion, interminable patience, and sense of humor. He will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and everyone whose lives he touched with his quiet grace.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to God’s Pantry because Tom loved food too.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Kerr Brothers – Harrodsburg Road is in charge of arrangements.