Rodney William Aldrich, 79, passed away July 8, 2021 at his home in Matlacha, FL with his family at his side, after a long battle with Multiple System Atrophy. Rod was born January 28, 1942 in Tucson, AZ where his parents ran a dude ranch, Rancho Robles in Oracle, AZ. The family later returned to Milwaukee Wisconsin where he graduated from Shorewood High School in 1960.
He is preceded in death by his parents Dorothy Wurster Aldrich and James Nelson Aldrich. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Holly Shertzer Aldrich, two brothers, David W. Aldrich (Betsey) and James N. Aldrich (Nancy), and sister Jane Aldrich Wray (Greg), his children, Jennifer Aldrich Boyle (Robert) and Christopher Aldrich (Christina), his grandchildren Chelsea Boyle Damron, Kaylee Aldrich Palm, Dominick Boyle, Sky Boyle, Chloe Aldrich, Sheldon Boyle, Mason Aldrich and great grandchildren, Luca and Diana Manuzza, Ryan Damron Jr, Mateo Boyle and soon Paisley Palm.
Rod went to University of Montana with a football scholarship. When he was in Missoula he joined the Smoke Jumper Club and became a certified instructor of skydiving. During summer vacations from college he was employed by Weyerhaeuser in Snoqualmie Falls, WA and worked with a crew cutting timber. From that experience he decided to change his major from Forestry Management to Mathematics. After graduation he drove his yellow VW bug to Panama where he worked on a construction crew.
Always a good student, he continued his education with full scholarships at Indiana University for his Masters and Doctorate. After he finished his master’s degree from IU he worked for Abbott Laboratories in North Chicago on a warehouse location project that led to his doctoral dissertation. The next year he took a break from studying and decided to spend a year travelling, first to Mexico to see the Olympics, then to Aspen, CO for the entire ski season, (where he returned almost yearly throughout his life) and then to Fort Yukon, AK to man a fire station for the summer.
Rod met Holly, who became his wife and best friend, at the airport where they were both signing up for flying lessons when they were starting graduate school at Indiana University. They loved flying, scuba diving, downhill skiing, camping and traveling. Rod had a rich life and enjoyed many interests and hobbies. He had an adventurous spirit and was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hiking, canoeing, sailing, fishing and hunting. He was very active in Boy Scouts where he could share his outdoor survival skills and experience. As a lover, collector and supporter of the arts he was very generous and donated to many charities and causes over the years.
He taught in the School of Business at Northern Michigan University before following his passion to do computer programing and starting his own businesses. He started Point of Sales Systems in Marquette, MI and then Rod and Holly opened and operated 3 retail stores, Habitat, Natural Habitat and Hot Stuff. The stores gave him an opportunity to use his artistic and woodworking skills, creating the interiors of the stores and offices. He had a good eye for displaying his personal collection of unique artifacts. Rod’s life and travels are all documented by his love of photography. He was rarely without his camera, capturing and preserving as many moments as he could to be able to share with others.
Those who wish to donate in his name may consider: Hope Hospice, Lee County, Fl., The Hope Parkinson Program, 9470 Healthpark Circle, Ft. Myers, FL 33908 or The Holly and Rodney Aldrich Endowed Scholarship for Northern Michigan University students. Please make checks payable to the NMU Foundation, 1401 Presque Isle Ave, Marquette, MI 49855.