Rodney Clark Kenyon, age 87, of Eagan, MN, formerly of Middleville, MI passed away in the early morning hours of January 2, 2021 at the Minnesota Veterans Home of natural causes. He was loved by many and reciprocated that love in all that he met.
Rod was born on July 27, 1933 to Arthur and Angeline (Williams) Kenyon in Middleville at the family homestead. Growing up in the Great Depression he soon realized a little meant a lot, with 3 older siblings. He graduated from Thornapple Kellogg School in 1951 and on July 15, 1952 he enlisted in the Navy. During leave from boot camp on October 11, 1952 he married his school sweetheart from 2nd grade Carol Schenkel, sharing 63 years of marriage together. His naval career during the Korean War embodied a radioman to an Admiral, thus being assigned to 22 ships in 21 months, honorably discharged on May 7, 1954 as a National Defense Service Medal recipient.
He returned from his service with the Navy to work at the family business, Central Garage in Middleville, with his father Art and brothers Bob & Bill. In 1960 he started Central Auto Parts (NAPA) growing the business to 4 locations in Middleville, Hastings, Caledonia and Lake Odessa. He celebrated his retirement from the automotive business in 1998.
Rodney was a lifetime member of Lions Club International, serving in Middleville MI and Eagan, MN. In the former club, he was a charter member in 1955, proud of his accomplishments of establishing Middleville Lions Spring and Sesquicentennial Parks, and playing Santa Claus for over 20 years in the annual Christmas parade. Rod loved a parade, having organizing many including the 1984 Middleville Sesquicentennial parade, lasting almost 4 hours. He was also a lifetime member of American Legion Posts 305 (Caledonia MI) & 1776 (Apple Valley MN).
In 2012 Rod and Carol moved to Minnesota to be closer to the VA Healthcare facilities and family.
Rodney is survived by his children, Craig (Kathy) Kenyon, Thomas (Meg) Kenyon, Christine (Charles) Schram; grandchildren Brett (Nichol) Bremer, Kelly (Patrick) Lewis, Kirby (Josh) Weeber, Shelby Kenyon, Cortney (Matt) Xiong, Cody Schram, Claire & Carly Kenyon, Lisa (Dan) Cooper, Kelly (Dave) Cichon, 15 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and sister-in-law Neva Kenyon.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Carol, siblings Charlotte (Rodney) Finkbeiner, Robert (Donna) Kenyon, William Kenyon, brothers-in-law William (Jean) & Fred (Sandy) Schenkel.
A celebration of life service is planned for late summer or early fall 2021, pending public health guidance. Memorial contributions can be made to the Middleville Lions Club, P.O. Box 1, Middleville, MI 49333. Rodney always loved to tell a great story, to honor his legacy, please visit www.goresfuneralservice.com
to share your favorite memory of Rodney.