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Hyde Park - Rodney W. Hitchcock, Sr. died on March 9, 2013 at age 98. Rodney was born on June 13, 1914 in Poughkeepsie to Frank Hitchcock and the former Mary Elizabeth Minkler and was a lifelong resident of Dutchess County. Rodney's life was defined by his tireless work ethic, curious mind and enthusiastic embrace of dancing, jokes and laughter, and social engagement-Rod loved life and people and treated everyone he encountered with openness and respect.
Rodney was active in St. James' Episcopal Church in Hyde Park, a member of the Clock Association, the VFW, especially enjoyed his senior associations and luncheons, and played Santa Claus at senior centers, elementary schools and civic associations. Rodney loved animals, building furniture, fishing, hunting and card games from bridge to pinochle and Old Maid with his grandkids.
Rodney had a long and distinguished work life which began as a trolley car operator in Poughkeepsie, New York and culminated at IBM in 1977.
In 1943 at the age of 29 and with a family awaiting his return, Rodney selflessly volunteered for service in World War II, where he served as a tank driver in the European theater. He served in B Company, 43rd Armored Division, where he drove an M4 Sherman Tank and earned the Certificate of Merit which reads "From 17th March to May '45 in Western Germany, this soldier in constant danger from artillery, anti-tank, panzer-faust and small arms fire, performed his duties with willingness and courage. His outstanding devotion to duty was an inspiration to his fellow soldiers."
Rodney was married to Dorothy Plass on January 6, 1934. Rodney and Dorothy were married more than 54 years and in retirement maintained an active lifestyle that included travel ranging from Alaska to Europe. In July 1988, Dorothy predeceased Rodney.
Rodney then met and married his loving wife, Ruth Wood of Poughkeepsie, New York. Rodney and Ruth celebrated 24 years of marriage last year. With his marriage to Ruth, Pops gained Ruth's extended family whom he loved as his own.
In addition to his wife, Rodney is survived by his son, Rodney Wallace Hitchcock Jr. and his wife, Susan, of Rhinebeck; daughter Scarlett Elizabeth O'Leary and her husband, Brian John O'Leary Sr., of Chatham, Mass.; Ruth's children, Frank Wood and his wife, Barbara, Lawrence Wood, Linda Lorenzer and her husband, John, Edward Wood, and Marjorie Guthrie and her husband, Steve; as well as his adoring grandchildren, Jodie Ross and her husband, John, of St. Albans, VT, Rodney Pettey and his wife, Joceyln, of Raleigh, N.C., Brian John O'Leary Jr. of Manhattan, Tara Elizabeth O'Leary of Hyde Park, April Tiberio of Red Hook, Wendy Lepard of St. Albans, VT., Jessica Mangiameli and her husband, Johnmark, Elaina Wood, Frank Wood Jr., Chelsea and Christopher Wood, and Stephanie Monteleone; five great grandchildren; and one great-great granddaughter.
There are no calling hours.
Services for Rodney will be held at St. James' Episcopal Church, Rte. 9, Hyde Park, on Friday, March 15th at 11 am. Rev. Chuck Kramer will officiate.
Burial with military honors will follow in Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Rodney's family respectfully requests memorial donations to St. James' Episcopal Church, 4526 Albany Post Rd., Hyde Park, NY 12538, or, the Dutchess County SPCA, 636 Violet Ave., Hyde Park, NY 12538.
To send a condolence or for directions, please visit www.sweetsfuneralhome.com.
Sweet's Funeral Home
4365 Albany Post Road
Hyde Park, NY 12538
Published in the Poughkeepsie Journal from Mar. 19 to Mar. 21, 2013