William “Bill” J. Rodda was born on March 24, 1938, in Iron River, Michigan, at Stambaugh General Hospital, to James and Esther (Rometti) Rodda. Bill graduated from Iron River High School in 1956 and attended Michigan Technical University in 1960, graduating with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He would later earn advanced education from Penn State University, Marquette University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T). Bill married Barbara R. Carlson in 1958 and they moved to Houghton, MI while he finished college. While working on his education, he supported his family working in the iron ore mine in Mineral Hills.
Bill accepted his first job at Boeing Company in Seattle, WA, working on the C-135, KC-135, and other special projects. In 1963, he moved to Milwaukee, WI to work for AC Spark Plug, a division of General Motors. He worked in principle project development of the Titan II and III missile systems, the M1 Tank, and AC-130 gunship. Bill would later have direct influence on special projects for the Apollo space missions where he designed the laser rendezvous docking system for Apollo 11. In 1971, he was transferred to ACSP Research Labs in Santa Barbara, CA where he formed an automotive electronics group to work on engine and transmission electronics. During his professional career, Bill was instrumental in spearheading special projects, often classified in nature, that served to support the United States defense systems and space exploration programs.
During this period, Bill and Barbara had four children; Cynthia, who passed away in 2017, Linda, Deborah, and Michelle, who survive. In 1981, Bill was transferred to Delco Electronics in Kokomo, IN. He worked on various assignments and retired in September of 1996 as Executive Director of Worldwide Powertrain Electronics.
Following his retirement, Bill and Barbara traveled extensively visiting Alaska, Singapore, Europe, Australia, Fiji, Panama, Hawaii, and coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea. Family and faith were an important part of Bill’s life and since his relocation to Kokomo, he became a member of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church and later joined St. Patrick Catholic Church, where he remained. As an avid football enthusiast, Bill and Barbara were not only fans but are also minority owners of the Green Bay Packers. Bill and Barbara would later spread their time between Indiana and Florida, spending the fall and winters in Cape Coral where Bill enjoyed boating, fishing, golfing, and entertaining friends and family. During the spring and summer months, he would return to Kokomo where he would enjoy watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up – and taking in a golf game or two.
Bill’s family grew over the years. He is survived by his three daughters, Linda (Steve) Schilling, Deborah (Tim) Tackett, and Michelle Heath; brother, John (Lori) Rodda; sister, Mary (Les) Marlowe; ten grandchildren, Daniel (Crystal) Marion, Jessica (Matthew) Campbell, Nicole Marion, Amanda (Miles) Wallace, Jennifer (Zachary) Ledoux, Tyler (Jessica) Fuller, Stephanie (Spencer) Long, Holly Kussow, Rachel Heath, and Dana Heath; along with 16 great-grandchildren, numerous cousins, and extended family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, daughter, aunts, uncles, cousins, and four great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1:00 pm, Thursday, March 23, 2023 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1229 N. Washington St., Kokomo, IN, with Fr. Elliott Zak the celebrant. Friends are invited to pray the Rosary with the family at 3:30 pm, Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at Shirley & Stout Funeral Home, 1315 W. Lincoln Road, Kokomo, IN, with visitation to follow from 4-6 pm, at the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Joan of Arc and Patrick School. Messages of condolence may be left online at www.shirleyandstout.com.
To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.