Rodney “Rod” Eugene Wilson
May 5, 1931 ~ July 10, 2020
On July 10, 2020, Rodney “Rod” Eugene Wilson, loving husband, and father of five, passed away from natural causes at his home in Buhl, Idaho, at the age of 89.
Rodney was born on May 5, 1931, in Cairo, Nebraska, to Merrell and Stella Wilson. In 1936, the family moved to Buhl, Idaho where they operated a small farm southwest of town. After graduating from Buhl High in 1949, Rodney farmed with his brother Don for a few years. From 1954 to 1956 he worked at Buckendorf Tires in Buhl and later in a tire shop in Twin Falls, where he soon moved into a managerial position. While at Buckendorf’s he met Virginia Spradling, a waitress at Nolan’s Drive-In across the street. They were married in 1956, beginning a loving partnership that lasted 64 years.
In 1960, Rodney was accepted into the Office Manager Trainee Program at the US. Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS), resulting in a move to Weiser, Idaho. The following year he was appointed manager of the ASCS office for Nez Perce County, in Lewiston, Idaho, a position he filled for six years. In 1966, he was appointed Alaska State Executive Director for the US Department of Agriculture, resulting in a move to Fairbanks and then to Anchorage, Alaska. The family’s Alaskan adventure included Rod’s transition from Executive Director to general contractor, building a house in Anchorage, and taking three trips to Buhl over 1,300 unpaved miles of the ALCAN Highway.
Rodney and his family moved to Buhl in 1974, where he operated K-Rod, Inc., a general-contracting business. In 1979, he and Virginia become owners of Buhl Paint & Glass, which they operated for the next 10 years. Throughout this time, he was active in Rotary Club and the Buhl Chamber of Commerce. As a licensed private pilot, Rod served for 10 years as chair of the Buhl Airport Board. Among his proudest achievements is securing a $240,000 federal grant to improve and modernize the Buhl Airport.
After selling Buhl Paint & Glass, Rodney worked as a building inspector for JUB Engineers, the Twin Falls Building Department, and the City of Jerome. Semi-retired in the early 2000s, he worked part-time as a building inspector for the City of Hollister and as a crop-insurance adjuster.
Retirement in Buhl enabled Rodney to pursue some of his favorite pastimes and projects, including camping, boating, woodworking, restoring trucks and cars, and traveling with Virginia in an RV.
He will be remembered as a loving, dedicated family man with a keen sense of humor, a quick wit, and a truly astounding ability to create useful, beautiful things with his hands. Most of all he will be remembered as an honest man, a straight shooter whose word and handshake guaranteed that he would do what he said he would do.
He is preceded in death by his father and mother; three siblings, Don Wilson, Ruby Minshall, and Harriet Rarick.
He is survived by his wife, Virginia (née Spradling) Wilson; five children, Rhonda (Jon) Johnson, Dennis (Janece) Wilson, Stacy Miller, Kevin (Ronda) Wilson, and Kelly (Sue) Wilson; as well as numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
Cremation is to be followed by a private memorial service attended by family.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Rod’s memorial webpage at www.farmerfuneralchapel.com.