Obituary of Rochelle M. Bynum
The Story of Ro
A Free Strong and Gentle Spirit
On November 23, 1957 a free spirit came to this earth and manifested itself in the birth of Rochelle Hyman to Ethel and John Hyman in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. She was one of six children, with two older brothers, Roger and Lynwood, three younger brothers, twins Robbie and Bobby, youngest brother John, and one younger sister Mae.
She was brought up in west Baltimore in a challenging environment, but that did not darken her outlook or dim her spirit. She was a bit of a tomboy and hung out with her brothers running the streets and playing multiple sports. In challenging situations, she appeared to be fearless and would let no one intimidate her and would not back down from a fight. She formed an especially close bond with her younger brother Robbie after his twin passed away. They were best friends and shared many “interesting” adventures. She made friends wherever she went and although she did not like to be the center of attention she often was, and her personality was such that her peers often wanted to be in her presence. She was lovingly known as “Cookie” It seemed that everyone loved her then, and that often was the case all the way up to her passing.
She was a product of the Baltimore public school system and she loved learning. She read and studied constantly, and one of the few things that could bring her down was the cancellation of classes for one reason or another. Her brothers and friends would celebrate but she would be a little down. This love of reading and the acquisition of knowledge persisted throughout her life. She graduated from high school in the spring of 1975.
She discovered at an early age that she had a passion for caring for people and worked as a volunteer in several health care facilities. Her mother saw to it that she had a mentor who encouraged her to pursue a career in health care. Soon after high school she married and gave birth to a son, Michael II. At this point in her life, the strength of her spirit really began to take hold and, in her quest, to make a better life for her son, secured employment at various warehouses and factories. Eventually, her love of learning led her to a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program at Union Memorial hospital. She worked in a warehouse, at a factory, volunteered at the hospital, had classes on the weekend, and used the remainder of her time to study and care for her son. She completed the program and became an LPN at Union Memorial.
Her coworkers loved her, respected her and admired her work ethic and seemingly boundless energy. One of her best friends, Rosalind, stated that she was the hardest working nurse that she had ever seen, and jokingly said that she asked her to save a few hours for the other nurses. She worked for a number of years as an LPN, but once again her desire to improve herself and love of learning inspired her to pursue a degree in nursing and she enrolled in a nursing program at Villa Julie (now Stevenson University) and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. Once again she was working and going to school and enjoying life in general. After receiving her degree she passed her nursing boards and became a registered nurse.
During the time that she was debating going back to school to pursue her nursing degree she met her future husband, Nate Bynum, working out at a gym in Hampton, Virginia during the Hampton Jazz festival. There was almost an instant connection and they developed a long distance friendship, then a long distance relationship, built a home together in New Jersey and finally were married on May 14, 2004. They studied together, traveled together partied together and encouraged and pushed each other to be the best that they could be. After she moved to New Jersey she was asked to join the nursing staff at Riddle Memorial Hospital in Media, Pa, and she accepted. In line with her determination to improve herself she completed an Orthopedic nursing certification and then a masters level Wound/Ostomy/Continence program at Lasalle University.
The story of Ro would not be complete without saying something about her passion for physical fitness, She loved working out whether was in the gym, running, hiking trails in the park or climbing mountains. She encouraged everyone around her to be physically active; She would have coworkers doing burpees and pushups in a back room in the hospital and take friends on walks. On her trips to Penn State with her husband, one of the first things on the agenda would be to climb Mt. Nittany. She encouraged everyone to find their own path to fitness. She joined a gym in her early twenties and during that period women generally did aerobics and men lifted weights. During one exercise session she noticed another room and was curious about what was there. It was where the men lifted weights, so she decided that she would lift too. The men tried to intimidate her but she wasn’t having it and they came to like and respect her. She then encouraged other women to join her in the weight Room.
After a hard fought battle with complication resulting from a bone marrow transplant a free and gentle spirit ascended to be with the Creator early in the morning on Tuesday, May 22nd 2018. Some of her spirit remains in her husband Nathaniel W. Bynum, her son and daughter-in-law Michael and Tiffany Sewell, two grandchildren Michael and Brittany, three brothers Roger, Robbie, and John, and one sister Mae, She also has many additional relatives and friends with whom she will surely share some of her spirit.
Ro, Cookie, we will miss you greatly and we are grateful that the Creator allowed us to share in your life.
Lovingly, the Family