Rodney Ellsworth Willard
|Posted 2019-02-10 by Judy Wight Branson|
|Camp Verde Bugle, Camp Verde, Arizona|
Tuesday, October 02, 2018
Rodney Willard died Aug. 24, 2018, in Cottonwood, Arizona, at the age
of 91, just weeks after the passing of his wife. Barbara.
He is survived by his four children, Karen Willard, Keith Willard,
Kathy Willard, Kirk Willard; his brother, Dudley Willard; his sister,
Marilyn Willard Anderson; and grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Rodney was born the oldest of six children in Sanitarium, California,
and later grew up in the Cottonwood and Prescott areas of Arizona
before his family moved to Loma Linda, California. He served as a medic
in the U.S. Army in WWII and then as a sergeant in the Army National
Guard. After the war he met Barbara Hastings in Loma Linda, while
attending La Sierra College, where they fell in love and were married
Rodney graduated from the College of Medical Evangelists (now Loma
Linda University School of Medicine) in 1956, interned at the Henry
Ford Hospital, and practiced as a general practitioner before returning
to a pathology residency at Emory University in 1963.
He completed his training as an NIH Fellow in clinical chemistry at
Yale and joined the faculty in the Department of Pathology at Loma
Linda University in 1967, serving first as Chief of Clinical Chemistry
and then as Director of Clinical Laboratories for the Loma Linda
University Hospitals and publishing the usual array of academic
articles. But his real joy was expressed as a teacher rather than
researcher through the many medical students, medical technologists and
pathology residents that passed through his life.
He volunteered throughout his career as a preceptor for medical
students serving at neighborhood medical clinics sponsored by the
School of Medicine, and served gratis as laboratory director of record
for the Monument Valley Mission Hospital Laboratory. He combined his
love as a general aviation pilot with service by flying in LIGA
sponsored medical missions deep into rural areas of Mexico and used his
lifelong involvement with amateur radio to serve as a communication
volunteer for the San Bernardino Sheriff's Medical Emergency Response
Corps and public events well into his ninth decade.
Rodney was active in his many professional societies earning awards
from county and state medical societies for his political leadership in
the fight for rational HIV testing before the California legislature.
And he was for many years IT support for the Alumni Association. But
his most important role in this life was as husband and father.
He was joined at the hip even to the very end to his wife of 70 years.
Barbara. No one who knew Rodney and Barbara ever doubted the deep love
binding them together throughout their life of raising four strongly
He stimulated a love of learning that shaped all members of the family,
each in their own way. And he was always willing to lend a literal
helping hand for all of his children long after they achieved mature
adulthood, whether it meant swinging a hammer, getting dirty under the
hood, or scraping his hands when torqueing a wrench.
His departure leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of his family and
Information provided by survivors.
Note: These obituaries are transcribed as published and are submitted by volunteers who have no connection to the families. They do not write the obituaries and have no further information other than what is posted within the obituaries. We do not do personal research. For this you would have to find a volunteer who does this or hire a professional researcher.
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