To all those who have come to know, love, work with and respect my friend and co-worker, Rocky Tharpe, I write this message of his passing.

My brother Joe told me many times of when he first met Rocky. Joe was a transfer student who had just arrived at Brandywine High School in his junior year. He had just transferred from a small private Academy to this large public school and he was wearing his suit and tie on that first day...but not for long. Rocky and a few of his life-long friends saw my brother. Rocky threw his arm around his shoulder and told him they were taking him under their wing...took off his tie, unbuttoned his collar, stashed the jacket and began many years of smiles, laughter and friendship. They built memories, the great kind we all hope to have, that Joe still cherishes to this day. For those of us who came to know Rocky, whether you are a Vortex Family member or Associate, or by a simple phone call here at Vortex Fitness, or through his witty narrative in our company News Letter, or to have been lucky enough to have met him in person... all felt that same warm, wonderful, welcoming feeling, smile and offer of friendship, that those of us who called him friend always felt.

He was a special person. More than many will ever know. He was a wonderful and devoted father always making sure he spent quality time with his darling Feighanne, his 16 year old daughter and the apple of his eye. He was a trusted and loyal friend who always had an open door policy at his home, played in a band with the guys, went out and did things, and made sure all felt welcome where ever and when ever. He was also one of the hardest working men I've ever met. A true professional and a man whose sense for right, honor and dignity came before he'd take the easy road.

As he battled this cancer, which eventually took his life, he'd often write to me about how it helped him enjoy the smell of coffee every day, to enjoy the crispness of the morning air as he took Bindy, his little pup for a walk and he made sure to remind me to enjoy every minute with those you love, like he did with the love of his life, his daughter, Feighanne. And, whether things got real tough, or you just wanted to jump for joy, he said its great to simply stand up and play "the air-guitar!" which he actually did on many of his darkest moments to help pull himself through. If nothing else, we should all learn this from him.

Yes, he was a special person and will always be in the minds and hearts of those of us who had the great fortune of knowing Robert (Rocky) Tharpe whom I am proud to have called friend.

He is now in a better place. May God rest his soul and may his smile and memory live on through all of us as we face life's trials and joys that lie ahead, and remember Rocky the next time you smell the aroma of a nice cup of fresh brewed coffee, feel a crisp morning breeze, or see a family member.

I will sign off with a salutation Rocky and I used to send between us... "Doin' the air guitar!"


Bob Piane

P. S. Rocky also asked that you remember to donate to the American Cancer Society to help in its effort in fighting cancer, especially lung cancer.


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