On Sunday (12.01), Rocky Yeh passed away after 42 well lived years. Yeh was a beloved institution on the international cocktail circuit, in the American train world, and in the Pacific Northwest’s Husky fandom.
To many of his friends — and Rocky had many friends — his personality was most manifest over a meal. Yeh loved to order “one of everything” off a menu. A meal with him was a genuine immersion in the delights of personal tastes and a communal table. Rocky cared about big issues also and sometimes the conversation would grow serious around the fourth or fifth dish, but it never failed to end in smiles.
Yeh’s love of friends and meals was matched only by his love of travel. He relished not just the destination, but the means of transit. He served on an advisory panel for Amtrak and he could nonchalantly explain minute details of airport operations on a whim. Always looking forward, Yeh also focussed his attention to studying spaceflight down to the pros and cons of various rocket engines.
Perhaps, it was the love of spaceflight that sparked this traveller’s adoration for Star Wars — all that is certain is that the force was strong with Rocky Yeh. He also loved Disney and when the two entities merged, he rejoiced. Yeh visited Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge park four times within the first six months of operation. In recent months, he even began working on a cocktail project with the Disney Parks.
However, one of Yeh’s earliest loves was the Washington Huskies. In 1995, Rocky matriculated at the University of Washington and after graduation, he chose to work for the university.
Yeh later shifted his professional focus to spirits and cocktails— a world in which he was a natural fit. He began working at Seattle’s celebrated craft destination, Vessel in 2009.
Soon, Rocky was seemingly everywhere on the cocktail circuit — often shirtless and always wearing a big smile. He began working as a consultant and an ambassador, a perfect outlet for his perfect pairing of charisma paired and attention to detail.
Over the last three years, Yeh worked for Maison Ferrand. The company’s rum sport a pineapple as its logo. Rocky really embraced this logo; on one occasion, he dressed in a pineapple suit and on another he had the fruit airbrushed on his chest.
The match seemed perfect. The pineapple is an international symbol of hospitality & generosity, warmth & welcome; in short, the fruit symbolizes a friend — so much of what Rocky Yeh was to so many people in this industry.