Retired Carmel Clay Schools teacher readies for 100th birthday


By Samantha Kupiainen

On May 30, Carmel resident Phyllis Rockhill will turn 100 years old, and her family is asking the community to help her celebrate by throwing a party they hope will remain a surprise.

Rockhill is a lifelong Hamilton County resident and a 1942 graduate of Carmel High School. She earned an education degree from Butler University in 1945 and taught in Carmel Clay Schools for more than 30 years, with her distant cousin, Ruth Croda, among her former students as a fourth-grader.

“She was a wonderful teacher,” said Croda, who assured Current that Rockhill isn’t likely to see this story and spoil the surprise. “She shaped the lives of many, many children in those 30 years that she taught in Carmel.”

In 1946, Rockhill married Myron Rockhill, and they had three children: Jerry, James and Jean. They were married for 75 years (until Myron’s death in 2021) and had nine grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Since retiring, Rockhill has spent a lot of her time reading and traveling, as well as feeding birds and gardening. She gave up her drivers license last year at age 99.

According to Croda, Rockhill has become famous among family and friends for her great sense of humor and fondness for jigsaw puzzles.

“For the last several years, she has lived in a condo,” Croda said. “She always has a jigsaw puzzle on her table. If you go visit her she’ll invite you in and fix you a Coca Cola and say, ‘Let’s work this puzzle for a little while.’”

In addition to puzzles and cards, Rockhill has enjoyed being a member of Carmel Friends Church and the Carmel Clay Historical Society.

“She’s just a lovely person,” Croda said. “Very well loved by many, many.”

To ring in her milestone birthday, Rockhill’s family is asking the community to help her celebrate by stopping by her birthday party and sharing a slice of cake. Her 100th surprise birthday party is from 3 to 6 p.m. May 30 at the Timber Creek Clubhouse, 1010 Timber Creek Dr. in Carmel.