Patricia Pope Rockett, The King’s Inn owner

September 14, 2020

Patricia Pope Rockett, 93, of Lewes died of natural causes at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.  Ms. Rockett was born in Trenton, N.J., Aug. 27, 1927, and lived in the Washington, D.C. area for many years. She retired to Lewes in 1982 where she owned and managed The King’s Inn, a bed and breakfast on Kings Highway.

This historic clapboard home with the yellow trim was once the residence of Bay & River Pilot William Marshall. Stunning African masks and sculptures framed by high ceilings and the luster of old patina woodwork greeted guests along with Ms. Rockett’s embracing hospitality.

During her first marriage by proxy in the 1950s to John Bowling, a diplomat, Ms. Rockett lived in Kabul, Afghanistan where she taught students what was then known as the Calvert Correspondence Course. “I played lots of bridge and tennis, studied Farsi, starred as Amanda in ‘Private Lives’ by Noel Coward and swam often in the prime minister’s pool,” she once said.

Kathi Carpenter, longtime family friend said, “Pat was bigger than life, smart, generous, and fun. A tall, striking woman with a shock of grey hair, she adored capes, big rings and anything purple. I’ve never known anybody who had so many interests and talents: golfing, opera, swimming, cooking, bridge, dancing, bicycling, women’s rights and politics, you name it. Yes, politics. While she was a patient at a local nursing home, she was urging everyone to vote in the upcoming presidential election. “

Ms. Rockett was a lifelong educator and culture lover. She received her bachelor of science and master of science in secondary education from George Washington University and a second master’s degree from the University of Chicago. She taught dance, archery and physical education, and then served for 23 years as a high school counselor in Virginia. She also held a teaching position in Ciudad Bolivar in Venezuela. In 1967-73 and 1979 she was president of the Arlington, VA Educational Association in addition to serving as president of the Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia

Upon retirement to Lewes, she acted as career counselor at Woodbridge High School and served as president of the Retired Teachers of Delaware. Also, she was chair of the State Finance Committee for the Delaware Federation of Women’s Clubs, president of the Zwaanendael Women’s Club, and in 1996 the Georgetown Branch of AAUW (Association of University Women) named her as Sussex Woman of the Year.

Bill Bottone, a friend of many years, said, “She was a wonderful, loving woman who would always go that extra mile to help you. My tears are of gratitude and remembrance.”

Ms. Rockett was a long-standing congregant of the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware in Lewes. Her friend Peg Smith, also a church member, said “Pat was involved in many aspects at services from refreshments to auctions. She was known for her self-assurance, non-judgmental, outspoken opinions and a ready smile. She will be missed by so many.”

Ms. Rockett is survived by special friends, Bill Bottone and Barbara Rew of Lewes; stepchildren Kelli, James and Tom Rockett and their families; and many nieces and nephews. Her second husband, Leon C. Rockett, died in 2015.


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