Harry E. Roderick, Evansville, WI (2012)
November 19, 2012
Harry E. Roderick, electrical engineer, Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Ret) and federal government executive, died at age 99 in Evansville on Nov. 19, 2012. Beloved husband of the late Jacqueline B. Roderick for 52 years and the late Elizabeth “Betty” Baker Roderick for 20 years. Devoted father of Douglas A. (Lin) of North Myrtle Beach, SC; Bruce E. (Andrea) of Canton, MI; and Jane R. Plank (Dennis) of Hudson, OH. Dear step-father of Ann Burgess (Richard) of Madison and Mary Baker (Wayne Pfeiffer) of Del Mar, CA. Grandfather of Laurel Stone (Michael) of Fairfax, VA; Kathleen Jones (Robert) of Canton, GA; and Andrew Roderick of Palmyra, VA. Step-grandfather of Kristen McBride (Jim) of San Francisco, CA; Andreas Burgess (Sadia Shepard) of New York City; Elizabeth Pfeiffer of San Francisco, CA; and Gordon Pfeiffer of San Diego, CA. New step great-grandfather of two month old Robert Dante McBride and Noor Jehan Shepard Burgess. Dearest brother of Elizabeth J. Matthews of Madison and uncle and great-uncle of many nieces and nephews.
Born in Brodhead, to the late Harry E. and Sophie A. Roderick, Mr. Roderick grew up in Evansville, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in 1936, with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps Reserve. Prior to World War II, he worked with Ken-Rad Tube Co. in Owensboro, KY, and Westinghouse Electric Corp., Radio Division, in Chicopee Falls, MA, and Baltimore, MD. He began active military duty as a 1st Lieutenant with the newly formed Air Defense Command of the then U.S. Army Air Corps at Mitchell Field, NY, in 1940. During WWII, he was instrumental in the development and operation of the first Air Defense Control Center in the U.S. located in New York City, and Aircraft Warning Information Centers in Mobile, AL, New Orleans, LA, Houston, TX, and San Antonio, TX. In 1942-43, Mr. Roderick was Regional Air Defense Commander of the New Orleans region. In 1944-46, he was Commander of the 554th Aircraft Warning (Special) Battalion in the protection of the Panama Canal. Mr. Roderick received numerous commendations for his WWII assignments and retired from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of Colonel. He was a graduate of the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, KS, and the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL.
Beginning in 1951, Mr. Roderick was Director of the National Civil Defense Attack Warning Office, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) for the U.S. and its territories for 13 years in Battle Creek, MI. While OCD was under the Executive Office of the President, Mr. Roderick received a sustained Superior Performance Commendation. In 1964, Mr. Roderick became head of Communications and Warning Research, Civil Defense Preparedness Agency, Department of Defense at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Mr. Roderick received a certificate of Achievement Award from the Department of the Army for his research on electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effects from nuclear weapons. He later was Deputy Director, Emergency Operations Research, Office of Civil Defense Mobilization (OCDM). In overseas assignments, Mr. Roderick served as the U.S. Representative to the NATO Civil Defense Warning Sub Committee in Paris, U.S. Representative to the Central European Treaty Organization (CENTO) Civil Defense Committee in Ankara, Turkey, and U.S. Representative to the U.S. - Canada Warning and Communication Committee in Ottawa, Canada.
In Wisconsin, Mr. Roderick was past commander, American Legion Post No. 35, Evansville; past president, Southern Wisconsin Reserve Officers Association (ROA); past president of the Evansville Historic Preservation Committee; and past president, Nathaniel Ames Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). He was a 76-year member of the National W Club (cross country) at the University of Wisconsin. Following WWII, Mr. Roderick was Evansville’s Water and Light Commissioner and served on the Evansville School Board. He was a 32nd degree Mason, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, Madison Chapter, and a member of Union Lodge No. 32, Evansville. Mr. Roderick was a member of the Congregational United Church of Christ, Evansville. Mr. Roderick was listed in Who’s Who in the Mid-West, Who’s Who in Wisconsin, and the National Historical Registry.
In 1937 while stationed at Fort Monmouth, NJ, Mr. Roderick was at Lakehurst Naval Air Station when the Hindenburg airship crashed and as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Signal Corps assisted with the recovery operation.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, at the CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, Evansville, with Reverend Dr. Luke Bocher officiating. Burial will follow in Maple Hill Cemetery, Evansville, with Military Rites provided by V.F.W. Post 6905, Evansville. A visitation will be held from 2 until 4 p.m. on Saturday Nov. 24, 2012, at the WARD FUNERAL HOME in Evansville.
The family would like to thank the staff at The Heights Assisted Living Apartments in Evansville for the dedicated and loving care of their father for the past year and a half.
Condolences maybe expressed at WardHurtley.com