Nov. 20, 1935 - Aug. 9, 2013
Rod was born in Big Rapids, Mich., and moved to Lakewood, Wash. during high school, graduating from Clover Park H.S. and Bates Vocational School. He worked as an operating engineer for highway construction and then as a heavy equipment mechanic for Crowley Maritime Corp the last 20 years of his work life, spending summers working on the waters around Alaska. The work was demanding and dangerous, but resulted in exciting encounters with Alaska wildlife - including a polar bear encounter and assisting the rescue of ice-bound baby walruses. He was a long standing member of Operating Engineers local 612 and OCAW.
Rod and Roberta met in 1957 and were married in 1958. They lived in Lakewood for 30 years, raising their four children there, and then moved to Tacoma for nine years before retiring to Ashland, Ore. in 2002. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Mark (Lamai), David (Illuminada), Teresa, and Eileen (Ken); two granddaughters, Suzanne and Lydia; three stepgrandsons; his brother, Jerry (Helga); and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Brandon; siblings, Gordon and Janet; and his parents, Lester and Thelma.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 12:10 p.m. Friday, August 16, 2013 at St. Leo's Catholic Church in Tacoma, Wash. In lieu of flowers, consider donations to St. Vincent de Paul or a charity of your choice. Please leave online condolences at www.gaffneycares.com. Arrangements by Gaffney Funeral Home, 253-572-6003.