Sharon Rochelle Cawley
August 30, 1945 – November 15, 2021
Sharon “Rochelle” Cawley-Jarvis (nee Hayes) died in the presence of her family on November 15, 2021, at the age of 76. Rochelle was born on August 30, 1945, in Nebraska to parents Harold Levitt Hayes and Evelyn Lucille “Luci” Hayes (nee Rouse). Rochelle’s passions in life were children, art, reading, sending cards to her many friends and family, and her unshakeable Christian faith.
Rochelle’s life-long passion for children was first manifested in her three daughters, Martha “Renee” Cawley, Dawn “Janelle” Cawley-Kennedy, and Suzanne “Chantelle” Hansen. From the moment of each of their births, Rochelle’s life was singularly focused on her daughters’ happiness, and in creating an idyllic childhood for them. In many ways she succeeded, and their childhoods were largely the stuff of dreams. Along with her first husband Charles Ray Cawley, the family moved from Fountain Valley to a ranch outside Escondido, California. The Ranch was, as her daughter Janelle likes to say, “Not a working Ranch, but a place that was designed to produce a lifetime of memories.” In recalling those memories, her daughters’ minds are filled with ponies and horses, cats and dogs, chickens and one very ornery rooster. Her children’s lives were shaped by early morning rides through fields glistening with dew-touched spiderwebs, ablaze in the golden light of the rising sun, and endless days of exploration and wonderment. Rochelle welcomed friends and family to the Ranch, and she delighted in frequent visits from her brother Paul Hayes, his wife Donnette “Dee-Dee” Hayes and their three daughters, Autumn Broadway, Paula Hayes, and Windee Evans. The six girls spent their time together staging plays and skits, roaming over the rock-strewn hillsides, digging in the nooks and crannies of the earth for bugs and reptiles to study and delight in, and filling the air with laughter, which was the food that fed Rochelle’s soul. The only time her daughters can recall Rochelle putting a stop to the shenanigans was during a notorious game of Dodge Rock that landed Chantelle in the ER for stitches, or when the day’s activity involved climbing to the top of one of a pair of 30-foot-tall pine trees, setting the flimsy upper trunk swinging back and forth, and, when the moment was right, leaping from one tree to the other. Rochelle took in stride the bumps, bruises, ripped clothes, and occasional broken bone as the price that was to be paid for a childhood filled with play and copious amounts of love.
Rochelle’s love of children extended beyond her own children, leading to one of Rochelle’s great accomplishments – the two trips she made to Romania to bring comfort to the orphans who had been abandoned due to mental or physical imperfections, or who were born as unwanted children after the government enacted reproductive policies designed to increase the population. Upon seeing the images in the news reports following the toppling of the totalitarian government, Rochelle felt compelled by God to travel to Romania to share with them the endless pool of love she possessed. Overcoming financial and physical challenges, Rochelle made two trips to the country, and it was there she formed enduring friendships with Marlys Ruckle and Janet Cullen.
Her love also found a home in her grandchildren, Rochelle “Amber” Olson (nee Kennedy), Stanley “Stan” Ray Kennedy, Audrey Evelyn Hansen, and the twins Sean Kipling and Scott Charles Hansen. When Sean and Scott were born, Rochelle and her second husband Charles “Chuck” Jarvis, moved to Las Vegas to provide support to Chantelle and husband Darrin Scott Hansen, in the challenge of raising the twins. The move to Las Vegas allowed her to form deep bonds with her grandchildren through frequent camping trips, slumber parties, and other fun activities. A short time later, her legacy grew when Amber and husband Jason Olson made Rochelle a great-grandmother when first Justin Matthew and then Harrison Stanley Olson were born. Rochelle got to know her great-grandsons through Amber’s frequent visits, video chats, and letters with her beloved grandmother.
Rochelle’s life was also touched by deep sadness and tragedy. Throughout her life, she struggled with mental health issues, creating sadness and pain in almost equal measures to the happiness. Through the overwhelming challenges created through her struggles, Rochelle took refuge in her faith in God. In her journey of faith, Rochelle found comfort in her life and a foil to the demons that haunted her. It was during this period that Rochelle would create a home of her own with her daughters in the Victorian-era house that she filled with beauty and art and, again, laughter. Although her struggles would bring times of conflict, Rochelle battled her demons to give caring and love to her daughters. Often, she would arrive at the school of one of her daughters at lunchtime and pull them out of class for a one-on-one lunch at a favorite restaurant or perhaps a trip to the beach to allow time to deepen their relationship with one another.
Rochelle’s life was also struck by tragedy when she suffered a stroke while living in Las Vegas. Beating overwhelming odds, Rochelle would leave the hospital, though the doctors predicted she’d never again walk or communicate at an adult level. It was during this time that her husband Chuck became her champion, determined to help his beloved wife recover from her stroke to spend more years by his side. Chuck sought medical treatment for her in multiple specialty centers, never accepting the prognosis of at best, minimal recovery. Daily, Chuck devoted his energies to her physical and occupational therapy, never growing weary of the task or giving up. Through his tireless efforts, Rochelle would regain mobility and was able to walk with assistive devices. She also recovered her ability to speak, and many of the happy memories she’d worked to create for her loved ones.
To help with her recovery, Chuck and Rochelle moved to Portland, Oregon to be closer to Chuck’s son, Jerald Jarvis, his wife Jeanie, and their children Jetta and Jake. This was the ideal place for Rochelle’s recovery, as she loved Chuck’s children and grandchildren as her own and they spent many loving hours creating new memories to add to those she was striving to recover. She also loved the mountains and the lush, green forests that surrounded Portland and reminded Rochelle of her beloved refuge in Salyer, California where she also had many good friends and a church home. Rochelle and Chuck settled into Portland and began to build a life and establish a church home, but all too soon tragedy would again strike when Chuck died of a sudden heart attack. Rochelle moved back to Las Vegas, where Chantelle could care for her as Rochelle continued to work toward recovery. Though Chuck was gone, Rochelle would forever miss her partner in life and in God, and she would often share with family, friends, and people she’d meet how much she loved and missed the husband who was her constant champion in sickness and in health.
While living in Las Vegas, Rochelle began writing as a pathway to recover memories and continued to improve her cognitive abilities. Her writing took many forms including journaling and letter writing. Rochelle’s letters were often painstakingly written inside cards and sent to friends and family. During the period of isolation and loneliness mandated by COVID, daughter Renee was especially grateful for the regular cards from her mother and delighted in opening her mailbox to see envelopes adorned with bright stickers and filled with her words of encouragement, sympathy, or lovely, mundane bits of life. Rochelle also delighted in receiving mail and daily walked to her mailbox, filled with child-like glee at the possibility of finding a letter sent in answer to her missives. Upon the announcement of her death, many expressed how much these cards and letters meant to them and how they’d miss hearing from her.
After the death of her beloved husband, Rochelle relied more than ever on the kindness and support of friends too numerous to name, who buoyed her through loneliness and grief. Among her dearest of friends was Suzie Vasquez. Rochelle and Suzie met soon after Rochelle moved to the Ranch in Escondido. Though the two were years apart in age, they formed a bond of friendship that grew over the years and Suzie was often by Rochelle’s side during her last days. Rochelle’s daughters recall the time Suzie accompanied the family on a vacation to Hawaii, thinking of her like an older sister who delighted in teaching her dear friend’s children how to say swear words in Spanish, much to the chagrin of Rochelle, but which delighted her daughters. Again, those memories are rife with laughter and Rochelle’s desire to create a world for her children which provided them with enough good memories, they’d be able to withstand whatever came along.
Rochelle was preceded in death by her husband, Chuck, her stepson, Jerald, and beloved pets Sheila, Satin, and O’Ryan. She is survived by her daughters, Renee, Janelle, and Chantelle; her brother Paul; her nieces Paula, Autumn, and Windee; her stepson James, her grandchildren Amber, Stanley, Audrey, Sean, and Scott; her great-grandchildren Justin and Harrison; and her step-grandchildren Jetta, Jake, Eric, and Ellie.
A small family observance will be held in Las Vegas on Sunday, November 20, 2021. Friends are invited to join Rochelle’s family at a memorial service in July, 2022 on the banks of Rochelle’s beloved Trinity River in Salyer, California where we will celebrate her life; details to be sent when available.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a charity of your choice that helps improve the lives of children or animals.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Sharon Rochelle Cawley
November 21, 2021
November 21, 2021
November 21, 2021
November 20, 2021
Rochelle and I have been friends for probably about five years. She was a powerful prayer warrior. I enjoyed the cards, gifts and the friendship. I would pick her and take her to church with me sometimes a few years ago. We praised God together. In fact I met her and Chuck in church. Beautiful people. God bless you family. Continue to be strong and be encouraged. ❤️❤️❤️