Rodney George Vanderpool
Pictured is my dad on the Veterans Honor Flight. He was a Navy Korean War veteran.
MY DAD, MY HERO! He was one of eleven children and born in Elmira, New York. He had a tough beginning when his family split up and he then was raised at the New York State School. He was a boy scout while there, so he could leave the grounds sometimes. One of these times, he was walking by the Erie Canal, watching the draft horses open and close the canal. My dad and his friend jumped in for a swim. WHAT AN ADVENTURE!
My dad left the home at eighteen years old and joined the Navy. He met my mom at River View which was an amusement park in Chicago. After four years in the Navy, my parents married. Then, me and my siblings were born. My parents always made life fun for us.
My dad “The Fix It Man” could fix anything including bicycles. So, kids with a broken bike came to my dad or if you did not have a bike, my dad would fix an old one up for you.
My dad is amazing! While at work, my dad had one accident and lost his pointer and middle finger on his right hand. He still worked, played golf, and went bowling. He has always been a hard worker.
There was a frozen custard stand about eight blocks away from our home. Dad would round up the four of us and any other children in the neighborhood to ride our bikes and enjoy A YUMMY ADVENTURE!
We took yearly vacations with our camper. One year, we were visiting family in New York when a hurricane hit the coast. We were inland, but because of the flooding we had to drive back home (Chicago at the time) through the lower part of Canada. A TRAVEL ADVENTURE!
We planned an exciting vacation to Niagara Falls in 1969. When we arrived, they were repairing the American side of the falls, so all the water was rerouted. We were very sad until we found out that this was the only time this had been done before. We saw something that most people will never see. A DRY ADVENTURE!
Our family visited friends at Lake of Egypt. We liked it and moved there in 1974. My dad worked as a truck/car mechanic at different businesses in Marion, Ill. Later, he owned his own shop near the fair grounds called Rod’s Truck and Car Repair. All of us kids would anxiously wait for dad to get home from work so he could go swimming with us. A WET ADVENTURE!
There are just a few memories to let you know how special my dad was.
Now to my dad’s last two years – where he lived at: The Anna V.A. Home. He was always busy there playing bingo, dancing to a live band, and fishing among other things. Thank you so much to the VA Home for all your love, care, and kindness you showed my dad. He regularly asked for a Peanut Butter and Butter sandwich at midnight or hot chocolate at 2 AM. The staff went above and beyond for all their clients.
As my dad became weaker, the VA Home most graciously allowed me and my son Jason to spend time with my dad in his private room and bathroom area. Then, they prepared the room for me to stay 24/7 with my dad. The staff was even kind enough to make sure I was fed while I stayed there with my dad.
Our family and friends were able to talk to my dad on the phone. He was too weak to talk back, but his face lit up with acknowledgment of the love they had for him. I played old familiar songs for my dad on my phone. I read him the Bible and sung him Christmas carols with my squeaky voice. As my dad took his last breath, I was holding his hand praying and singing How Great Thou Art. He went peacefully on A HEAVENLY ADVENTURE!
(Written by Debbie Hess, daughter)
Rodney George Vanderpool, 91, of Anna, passed away at 10:55 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, at the Illinois Veterans Home in Anna.
He was born on Feb. 28, 1929, in Elmira, N.Y. He was one of 11 children born to Andrew Vanderpool and Helen Park.
He married Joan Nora Austin in Chicago. She preceded him in death on Dec. 23, 2002. He later married Lola, who preceded him in death.
Survivors include his children, Debbie (Bill) Hess of Anna, Dawn (Chuck) Gardner of Frisco, Texas, Roger Venderpool of Anna Rick Vanderpool of Carrollton, Texas; grandchildren Jason (Jessica Jones) Hess of Anna, Joshua (Jessica) Hess of Anna, C.J. Gardner of Frisco, Texas, and Tanner Gardner of Frisco, Texas; one great-grandchild, Lexy Hess of Marion; a sister, Louis Snowburg; a nephew, Holly “Isaac” Snowburg; as well as many other family members and friends.
He was preceded in death by 10 brothers and sisters; and by one son, Rodney Vanderpool Jr.
He attended Anna Heights Baptist Church. He also enjoyed listening to sermons by Dr. Stanley on “In Touch Ministries” on television.
There will be no public visitation or service.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna is in charge of arrangements.