Rodney Wilson retired from the Santa Fe Railway in 1986 after forty-three years with the company. When he retired, it was the first time in the 20th Century that no member of his family was working with the Santa Fe.
Rodney died at KU Medical Center Sunday evening, June 5th, 2011 from a massive brain hemorrhage that he suffered on Saturday. He was born in Arkansas City, KS, November 6, 1926. He spent his growing up years in Guthrie, OK and Arkansas City, KS. He served in the South Pacific with the U. S. Navy as a signalman second class in World War II. He later attended Arkansas City Junior College and Emporia State.
After retirement, Rodney served as a volunteer for fifteen years with Rotary International, leading working teams to Portugal, Mexico and Haiti. For nine years he joined a medical team working in the Dominican Republic. Rodney traveled to forty-five countries, many as a volunteer for Rotary, the Institute of Cultural Affairs and Village Presbyterian Church. All who encountered him loved him and were touched by his grace and sense of humor. He received five major awards from Rotary International Foundation: Citation for Meritorious Service, Service Above Self Award, Distinguished Service Award, Rotary Volunteer in Action, and he was one of seventy-five “Candles” to celebrate Rotary International Foundation’s 75th anniversary. He was the only Rotarian in the world to receive all five of these awards.
Survivors include: wife, Priscilla; son, Ben and daughter-in-law Tina Wilson of Arden Hills, MN; son Tim Wilson of Hood River, OR; daughter Mary VanRyzin of Prairie Village, KS; brother Fred and his wife Diane of Boerne, TX; four grandchildren, Marcel and wife Phaedra of Mounds View, MN; Jeffrey and wife, Christy of Mounds View, MN; Nora and Warren Van Ryzin of Prairie Village, KS, three great-grandchildren, Alexander, Isabelle and Aurora.
In addition to his parents Fred and Helyn Wilson, Rodney was preceded in death by brother, Vincent Wilson.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests any memorial contributions be made to Village Presbyterian Church Endowment Trust.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday June 11 at Village Presbyterian church at 10:00am. Village Presbyterian is at 6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS 66208.