Hyman Rochman

Hyman Rochman (right) with Hazel Rochman

Dr. Hyman Rochman, 88, passed away on October 21, in Chicago at Montgomery Place. He was born on Oct. 7, 1932 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Rochman, known as Hymie to friends and family, became involved in anti-apartheid protests as a young man. His parents, who owned a café grocery store, threw him out after he was arrested because it was bad for business. He graduated with a medical degree from University of Cape Town in 1956 and later completed a residency at Baragwanath Hospital, where he met coworker, anti-apartheid activist and future First Lady of South Africa Winnie Mandela.

He married journalist Hazel Fine in 1959 in Johannesburg. Together, they hid Nelson Mandela in their house for five weeks when he was wanted by authorities for revolutionary activities. Mandela writes in his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom”: “I stayed at a doctor’s house in Johannesburg, sleeping in the servant’s quarters at night and working in the doctor’s study during the day. When anyone came to the house during the day, I would dash out to the backyard and pretend to be the gardener.”

The young couple, along with first son Danny, escaped South Africa in 1963 after receiving a tip the police were coming to arrest Rochman. South African authorities withdrew the passports of Rochman and his wife and they were unable to return to their home country for many years thereafter.

They initially went to Leeds, England for three years, where a job awaited Rochman. Second son Simon was born in 1964. Next, the family moved to London for six years where Rochman worked in chemical pathology at University College London and Chelsea College. The family moved to Chicago in 1972 and settled in East View Park. Rochman was head of Clinical Chemistry at Billings Hospital (now the University of Chicago Medicine), worked at La Rabida Children's Hospital, and served as Associate Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pathology at the University of Chicago.

He was the author of “Clinical Pathology in the Elderly: A Textbook of Laboratory Interpretations.” Some of his work can also be found online through the Cambridge University Press, JAMA Network, and American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Rochman is survived by his wife of 61 years, Hazel Rochman, and sons Danny and Simon.

(2) entries


I knew Hymie from La Rabida Children's Hospital. We worked together on chart reviews. Loved his sense of humor. A most delightful, interesting human being. Sad to see.


We saw Mr. Rochman often when we went to Ratner Center. He was so delightful and encouraging. He scolded us when he hadn't seen us for a while and was a great motivator. We didn't know anything about his amazing life until we read about him in the Hyde Park Herald today. What a life! What an amazing man. Humble person.

Molly Day and John Himmelfarb

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