Passed away at home from natural causes on May 17, 2020.
He was 87 years old.
He is survived by Ramona, his wife of 65 years, their children, Renee Queen (widow of David), Royce Curtis (Monica), Ronda Armstrong (John) and Rendle Curtis (Michelle). Rodney and Ramona’s lives were further enriched with 12 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. Each growing up as an only child, they wanted to have a bigger family. At his passing, Rodney has 40 direct descendants.
Rodney was a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology. He served in the United States Army for two years with a deployment to Fairbanks Alaska. After his service, Rodney and Ramona settled in Rochester, NY as he pursued a career as a photographer with Eastman Kodak, where he worked until his retirement in 1990, after 32 years, to spend more time with his family and on his hobbies (Sometimes in that order!).
Spending most of his career at Kodak as an industrial photographer, his life behind the camera started in his youth, starting a photography studio in his mother’s dining room. He studied the skill at RIT and utilized it in his private life, leaving his family a legacy of his time behind the lens at every holiday, gathering, reunion, museum, air show, ski trip, or average afternoon.
Always active and never one to be bored, Rodney’s love for clubs, outdoor sports and BMW motorcycles led him to many wonderful lifelong friends.
At age 13 Rodney wrote to the Boy Scouts headquarters in Washington, D.C. for information on how to become a Boy Scout. He and another boy talked their fathers into helping and started the first Boy Scout troop in their small Pennsylvania town. He quickly rose to Eagle Scout. Years later in Rochester he would serve as one of the Scoutmasters for Troop 80.
The club adventures in Rochester began with the MG Car Club. Rod was also active with The National Campers Hikers Association, The Rochester Bicycling Club, The Rochester Brooks and Outlet Rod and Gun Clubs, The National Ski Patrol (Genesee Valley), Amateur Radioing, The Academy of Model Aeronautics, The Rochester Aero-Modeling Society, The National BMW Motorcycle Owners Association, and The Finger Lakes BMW Motorcycle Club, among others.
He began trading four wheels for two during the Bicycling Club days, riding his customized bicycle to work and a tandem bicycle with Ramona.
The bicycle wheels were exchanged for BMW Motorcycle wheels from one of his favorite hangouts, Country Rode Motowerks, where they claimed they never turned a profit on his motorcycle purchases because he ate all the cookies and drank all the coffee in the showroom! His motorcycles were his preferred mode of transportation for travel, recreation, on leisure and sport rides, and trips around the block with a grandkid on the back. He rode well into his eighties.
Rodney’s hobbies were plentiful and varied. In fair weather he could be found (or not found) bicycling, camping or hiking to mountain peaks. In the cold, he would disappear to Bristol Mountain to ski until the last snow.
If you were looking for Rod at home you’d probably find him in the basement building model rockets or radio controlled cars and aircraft. In later years he turned his interest in building towards Lego sets, a passion he shared with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who called him “Grandpa Lego.”
Rodney was a story-teller and loved the things he loved. He was generous and gregarious. He led his life to the fullest and on his terms.
Rodney and Ramona shared many adventures. One special memory for the family is that he took Ramona on a weekly date night to a local family restaurant. They were known by all the staff and had their special table. It was a coveted honor to go with them.
Rodney cared for Ramona, as she continued to need more assistance. After Ramona stopped driving, Rod took her to church faithfully each week, and escorted her into the service, where her friend awaited. They shared a special bond and love for their family. He was a devoted husband, a generous father, a care-giver, and a good friend.
Dear Rodney, Dad, G’Rod, Grandpa Lego,
You have only been gone a few days and your precision-run household has already run amuck!
Someone put the paper towels on incorrectly, the bananas are on top of the microwave instead of the shelf, the dishwasher was not loaded according to proper schematics, the phone was not back in the base, windows and doors are left open, the TV remotes were (gasp!) in three different places, Renee left a light on while she ran downstairs for a minute and Ronda did not turn off a power strip.
We will try to shape up and carry on, but it is very hard.
We are so thankful that you did not have to be sick for very long.
We love you and miss you!
To all our friends, due to the pandemic the burial will be private. A memorial celebration will be planned when congregation is again permitted.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations, in memory of Rodney Curtis, to Brighton Volunteer Ambulance Company at brightonambulance.org/donate