In a career spanning more than 40 years across several industries, Rollie was always a problem-solver, gifted in finding solutions to intractable issues and implementing efficiencies that drove growth and revenue. He was beloved by his children for always having the answer they hadn’t thought of. His ways of thinking influenced how they approach challenges to this day — looking at difficulties from several directions, seeing a problem as an opportunity, turning a situation upside-down to unlock the best ways to fix it.
A graduate of American University, Rollie started his career fresh out of college as a production manager in Washington, DC, working on such publications as Government Executive and Army Times before being recruited to run Colorado Magazine in Denver in the mid-1970s. In 1977, he, his first wife Ruth, and their three young children moved to Los Angeles, where he held several high-profile jobs in the printing and publishing industry. The family missed living in Colorado and was able to return in 1982, when Rollie was hired as Vice President and then promoted to Executive VP at Williams Printing in Colorado Springs.
While living in Colorado Springs, Rollie earned his commercial hot air balloon pilot’s license, and spent many weekends flying the family balloon “Camelot” around the state. He made friends in the ballooning community who are still part of his extended family to this day.
In the late 1990s, Rollie moved to Albuquerque, NM, where he married Karen Cunningham and gained a loving stepdaughter. He worked as a beneficiary service representative for TriWest Healthcare Alliance before accepting a transfer to Sacramento to become a TRICARE field representative for northern California. Rollie was also a volunteer and crew chief at the Aerospace Museum of California for several years.
Rollie was warm and open-hearted, had a quick wit, a goofy sense of humor, and an abiding love for his children, both by birth and by marriage. He taught his children to take large bites out of life — to eat well, work hard, and to embrace new experiences. All of his adult life, he was adored by big, hairy dogs who never left his side, and he was as loyal and loving to them as they were to him.
Rollie will be missed by his wife, Karen Elkins; his sister, Franchon Elkins, of Burke, VA; his three children from his first marriage — Eric Elkins, of Denver. CO, Sarah Elkins, of Helena, MT., and Karen Cohen, of Albany, CA; as well as his stepdaughter, Christy Boyer, of Albuquerque, NM; six grandchildren; and the sweetest Hungarian Kouvasz you’ll ever meet, Zivator.
A memorial service will take place at 11am on Tuesday, February 25, at Congregation Beth Shalom, 4746 El Camino Ave, in Carmichael, California. The funeral is scheduled for Friday, February 28 at 11am, at the Jewish Community Cemetery, 400 Block of Faulk Rd., Wilmington, Delaware.