Dr. Dudley Fortescue Rochester

May 21, 1928 - November 29, 2023

Dudley Fortescue Rochester died on November 29, 2023 at Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge. He was born May 21, 1928 in Bennington, Vermont, the son of Edward Fortescue Rochester and Gwendolen Wolfe Rochester. He grew up at West Mountain Farm in Arlington, Vermont and Jobs Peak Ranch in Minden, Nevada, and attended Los Alamos Ranch School, St. Paul’s School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Columbia College. He was a member of St. Anthony Hall fraternity. Dudley married Lois Boochever of Albany, NY on June 24, 1950, and received an MD degree from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in 1955.

Dr. Rochester did his internship and residency training at Presbyterian Hospital in New York, followed by a research fellowship in Cardiopulmonary Physiology in Dr. Andre Cournand’s laboratory at Bellevue Hospital. He served on active duty in the US Army Medical Corps near Orleans, France. He was on the faculty of Columbia University at Bellevue Hospital (1962-68) and at Harlem Hospital (1968-76).

In 1976 Dr. Rochester became the E. Cato Drash Professor of Medicine and Head of the Pulmonary Division at the University of Virginia. From 1978-84 he was also Medical Director, Tuberculosis Service, at Blue Ridge Hospital. He conducted research on the strength and endurance of muscles used for breathing in health and in disease, and authored numerous scientific papers, chapters and review articles. He was elected to membership in the distinguished American Clinical and Climatological Association.

After retiring in 1994, Dr. Rochester became a volunteer for the American Lung Association. The American Thoracic Society presented him an award for scientific excellence in 1996. He was chairman of the American Lung Association of Virginia 2000-2002, receiving the Douglas Southall Freeman Award. In 2005 received the Ross Medal for distinguished volunteer service from the American Lung Association.

Dr. Rochester lectured about the health and economic impacts of air pollution, and about the availability and quality of fresh water, in Virginia and elsewhere. He was a member of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Air Advisory Board, and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia Committee on Stewardship of Creation.

Dr. Rochester served on the Vestry of St. Paul’s Memorial Church in Charlottesville, and was active in other church activities. He was a member of the Charlottesville Camera Club, and the Piedmont Division of the Antique Automobile Club of America. At Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge, he served on several committees, with special attention to advocating for frail elderly residents and for end-of-life care planning. He served as lay preacher at WCBR Vespers services for 10 years, and enjoyed oil painting classes at WCBR.

Dr. Rochester was predeceased by his wife of 73 years, Lois Boochever Rochester; he is survived by his daughter Carolyn Rochester Ramsey and husband William H. Ramsey of Cheshire, Connecticut; son-in-law Bruce H. Leighty in Arlington, VA; grandchildren Carl and Alison Leighty, Anna Ramsey Spetta and Nick Ramsey; niece Alisone Kopita, nephew Grafton Rochester; siblings Jill Glover, Jacque Rochester, Edward Rochester and Tom Rochester. His daughter Gwendolen Rochester Leighty died of breast cancer in 2005, brother Paul Rochester died in 2015, and sister Nancy Caird died in 2019.

A memorial service will be held at Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge on January 27th, 2024, at 2:00 pm. Memorial contributions may be made to the Endowment Fund, St. Paul’s Memorial Church, or to the Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge (WCBR) Foundation (westminstercanterbury.org).

Condolences may be left with the family on the Tribute Wall.