Frank Rockstroh

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Frank Rockstroh

Birthdate: (83)
Death: May 21, 2012 (83)
Immediate Family:

Son of Philip H Rockstroh
Husband of <private> Rockstroh (Meyer)
Father of Private User and <private> Taylor (Rockstroh)

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • <private> Rockstroh (Meyer)
    • Private User
    • <private> Taylor (Rockstroh)

About Frank Rockstroh

ROCKSTROH, Frank Frank Harry Rockstroh (April 13, 1929 - May 21, 2012) Frank Harry Rockstroh passed away quietly in his sleep, early in the morning of May 21, 2012, after a long illness. Frank is survived by his devoted wife of almost 60 years, Erica Meyer Rockstroh. His daughter, Esther Rockstroh Taylor and her husband, Donald Taylor, and their children, his beloved grandchildren (his favorite people on the planet) Erica Stephanie Blanche Taylor and William Henry Blake Taylor, as well as, his son Philip Harry Rockstroh and daughter-in-law, Angela Tyler-Rockstroh. Frank was a man of many passions, both as a professional and an enthusiast. Stationed in Birmingham, Alabama, as a photojournalist, in the employ of Black Star syndicate, in the 1960s, he photographed many of the iconic images of the Civil Rights era. His enthusiasms included computer science, karate, art, folk music, left-wing politics, the struggle for social justice, and Native American custom and lore. (He was born of half Native American ancestry.) A unique individual and a rare soul, he was much loved and will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. Arrangements by the Cremation Society of Georgia 404- 355-7627. - See more at:

Frank Harry Rockstroh, 83, covered civil rights movement as news photographer

5:04 p.m. Sunday, May 27, 2012 | Filed in: Local News

Frank Rockstroh was a man of many facets: a news photographer, real estate agent, advocate of left-wing causes, student of martial arts, seeker of spiritual clarity, long-distance hiker and a proud 50-percent Native American.

In the early 1960s he covered the civil rights movement in Birmingham for the Black Star photo syndicate. His pictures appeared often in Life magazine, said his daughter, Esther Taylor of Atlanta. They included shots of demonstrators cartwheeling down the street after being fire-hosed by police and an adult comforting a child who had been bitten by a police dog, she said.

He also covered the funeral procession for President John F. Kennedy in Washington and police-protester confrontations in Montgomery and Selma. His son, Philip Rockstroh of New York City, said he has boyhood memories of his father coming home from the latter assignments smelling of tear gas.

In the late 1960s, as the father of two young children, Mr. Rockstroh opted for a quieter, more stable career as a real estate agent in Atlanta, his son said. However, he kept up his interest in progressive causes, writing articles and taking photos for the Great Speckled Bird, a counter-culture weekly published in Atlanta between 1968 and 1976.

His wife of 59 years, Erica Rockstroh, said his principal focus in real estate was finding buyers for Gwinnett and Forsyth county farmland and turning it into desirable residential and commercial properties in close proximity to Lake Lanier.

In the mid-1970s. Mr. Rockstroh took a break from real estate and managed a karate academy in Smyrna. He even took instruction himself, his son said, earning a brown belt.

Soon, however, he switched to another real estate agency, where he worked until his retirement in the mid-1980s.

Frank Harry Rockstroh, 83, of Atlanta died Monday at Hospice Atlanta of complications from bone cancer. His family plans an invitation-only celebration of his life at Le Giverny Restaurant at 5 p.m. Sunday. The body was cremated at the Cremation Society of Georgia. His family plans to scatter his ashes at his favorite spots in New Mexico and along the Appalachian Trail.

His life got off to a difficult start. He was left on a church doorstep in Kansas and was adopted in Missouri by a Jewish mother and Christian father. When his father died several years later, he was taken in by his adoptive mother’s family until she married again and resettled with him in Birmingham.

Growing up there, the young Mr. Rockstroh struggled with identity issues. With his Native American features and dark complexion, he was harassed for being only part-white, his son said.

Conversely, his physical appearance was an advantage for him later in life when he served in the U.S. Army occupation force in Japan because the locals there took him to be part-Asian and treated him hospitably.

In retirement, Mr. Rockstroh researched Native American customs, history and forms of worship. He made numerous trips to reservations in New Mexico and Arizona. He and his wife also took long hikes on the Appalachian Trail.

He studied Buddhism, engaged in long conversations about ideas with friends and encouraged them to experience what he called the efficacy of meditation, said Frank Matignon of Atlanta.

Mr. Rockstroh remained passionate about his political convictions, recently expressing concern over what he considered a rising authoritarianism in America coupled with increasing concentrations of money and influence. Yet he mellowed in the way he talked about his ideological opposites and sought to be more tolerant of them, said another friend, Jackie Metzel of Smyrna.

Also surviving are two grandchildren.

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Frank Rockstroh's Timeline

April 13, 1929
May 21, 2012
Age 83
real estate