Rodney Eugene Wilson


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 5, 2011 from a massive brain hemorrhage that he suffered on Saturday. He was born November 6, 1926 in Arkansas City, KS. He spent his growing up years in Guthrie, OK and Arkansas City, KS. Rodney 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, Distinguished Service, 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 and daughter-in-law Ben and 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, and three great-grandchildren, Alexander, Elizabeth and Aurora.
In addition to his parents Fred and Helyn Wilson, Rodney was preceded in death by his brother, Vincent Wilson.
A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00am, Saturday June 11 at Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS 66208.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to Village Presbyterian Church Endowment Trust.


  1. Gerry Bazil, Ark City on June 12, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Dear Priscilla, Ben, Tim, Mary and family.

    I was shocked and saddened when I read the newspaper Friday evening about Rod’s passing.

    To me, he was one of the greatest. He was always pleasant, caring, happy and full of life, everytime I saw him. I will never forget the wonderful times we had at your home whenever the Trust Department at HNB would find an excuse to come visit. He was the perfect host.

    You are all in my prayers to help you through this hard time. Love you all.

  2. Tess McClung on June 10, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Dear Priscilla,
    My deepest sympathy goes to you and your family. I will never forget every time I saw Rodney he would give me a hug. His hugs will be missed.

  3. Valerie (Zielinski) Stabenow on June 7, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Dear Priscilla, Ben, Tim, Mary and your families, words cannot express the sadness in my heart hearing of Rod’s passing. What a wonderful legacy he has left with all the selfless work he did for so many individuals and organizations. I so remember Rod working in your garage, building the wood speedboat and then bringing it to Lauderdale lakes for its maiden voyage. Fast forward to 2005 and I restored a wood boat, a 1947 Chris Craft. I worked on it for nearly a year and there weren’t many days that I didn’t think back to those nights in the garage with the Wilsons building their boat. My husband Allen joins me in saying that our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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