Rodney Lee Conrad, lovingly known as Rod, passed away on October 19, 2023, at Advent Hospital. He was born on June 24, 1960. Rodney's demise has brought immense sorrow to his family and friends but also serves as an opportunity to celebrate his remarkable life.
Rodney had a fulfilling career that spanned from active duty in the US Army to becoming an instructor for the Transportation of Hazardous Materials in the civilian workforce. He found his true passion behind the podium, where he thrived as a teacher. Despite it being a dry and complicated subject, Rodney thoroughly enjoyed sharing his knowledge with others.
Throughout his life, Rodney made countless beautiful memories that will be cherished by his loved ones. One such memory includes his time in Washington state when he reenlisted at American Lake in Fort Lewis. But it was crabbing and fishing that truly brought him joy. What began as a personal hobby soon turned into a cherished family tradition. They would drive to the coast early in the morning and spend the entire night crabbing until the early hours of dawn. Upon returning home, Rodney stayed up to clean the crabs, the rest of the family would retire to bed. After sleeping briefly, they would gather again to feast on their hard-earned catch.
Rodney attended Carlisle High School and graduated with the class of 1978. It was during this time that destiny brought him face-to-face with Kathryn, who would later become his beloved wife. Their first encounter took place in the school cafeteria in 1975 and marked the beginning of a lifelong journey together.
Known for his loving and thoughtful nature, Rodney always extended kindness to those around him. Though he often claimed to have a bad memory, he possessed an uncanny ability to remember lines from movies which he would spontaneously quote to lighten the mood and bring laughter into people's lives.
Rodney's military service was a significant chapter in his life. He served in the US Army from 1978 to 1999, and throughout his career, he held a special fondness for his duty stations in Ashaffenburg, Germany, and Fort Lewis, Washington. Rodney retired from the military with the rank of Sergeant First Class (SFC).He had a favorite saying, "The best duty station was the one you just left." Known for his caring nature, Rodney treated his fellow soldiers as family. He would throw impromptu get-togethers to foster a sense of camaraderie among them-- a testament to his belief in working hard and playing hard. Rodney's holiday table always had an open seat for anyone who couldn't make it home for festivities. His genorosity and inclusivity created a warm and welcome enviroment where no soldier felt alone during these special moments.
In addition to his dedication to teaching and military service, Rodney had various hobbies and interests. He enjoyed building military models, working outside, and found solace in gardening.
One of Rodney's proudest accomplishments was watching his son Dustin excel in his own Army career. The two would spend hours on the phone discussing their experiences and supporting each other through life's challenges.
Rodney leaves behind a legacy of love and remarkable memories. He will be deeply missed by his surviving family members: his loving wife Kathryn Conrad of Copperas Cove TX; son Dustin Conrad and wife Valerie from Olympia, WA; granddaughter Kacie Duncan and husband Austin from JBLM, WA; granddaughter Kylie Conrad and grandson Dylan Conrad from Olympia, WA; great-granddaughters Alice and Marie from JBLM, WA. Rodney's memory will forever be treasured by sisters Cecile Eppley, Maria Kuykendall, Shelby Martin, Connie Shellenburger (partner Joe), brothers Ray Conrad and Anthony Conrad (wife Karon), as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Rodney was preceded in death by his mother and father, Thelma Sheaffer Conrad and Raymond Conrad, daughter Heather Conrad and brothers Jeffrey and Jesse Conrad
While we mourn Rodney's passing, let us also celebrate the wonderful life he led. His kind spirit and love for others will continue to inspire those who were fortunate enough to know him. May he rest in peace knowing that he made a profound impact on the lives of many.
A family gathering will be held to honor Rodney in the Spring of 2024 in PA.