Rodney Joel Woidtke
Birth Date: January 20, 1961
Death Date: September 20, 2014
Rodney Joel Woidtke was born on January 20, 1961 in Porterville, CA to his parents Joel and Elaine. He went home to be with the Lord on September 20, 2014 after a difficult illness. He is survived by his father, Joel Woidtke and his stepmother Ginger (Sonoma, CA). His brother, Richard C. Woidtke and his wife Margie (Cypress, TX). He is survived by his many aunts and uncles on both sides of the family, most loved were his Uncle John and Auntie Barbara from Loomis, CA. He is also survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews. He also had friends he considered family like Harvey and Lette Baker from North Highlands, CA, and Connie Parker from Illinois whose friendship he cherished over the years. He was preceded in death by this mother Elaine Woidtke and his sister Gidget Beckwith.
Rodney was a very special person who endured many hardships during his lifetime. He never complained about any of his misfortunes. He never spoke evil words and had no vices. The only thing Rodney could never accept in life was the pervasive mental disorder for which he was single-minded and firm and remained unwilling to accept. As a young adult he ended up in a predicament where he was wrongfully convicted of a crime. There are books and articles written in newspapers concerning his wrongful conviction and subsequent acquittal in Illinois. What is not public knowledge is how the Lord acted in such miraculous ways to provide not only for his legal representation but to bring to national attention his case through the Dateline program.
Rodney was especially fond of his little sister Gidget. There are many letters that personify the love they had for one another. Unfortunately, Gidget died at a very young age and never knew that Rodney was released from prison. Throughout his lifetime, he was an avid reader, writer and would chronicle everything in notebooks. It was through his efforts to defend himself in court that a loophole emerged allowing for a new trial. He had a remarkable recollection of family events, names and never forgot birthdays or holidays. If he didn’t have the money, he would make a card and send a small gift. Rodney was very thoughtful. He actively wrote letters to friends and would always include something he thought might benefit them. He continued to keep in contact with some of his inmate friends and gave them encouragement and advice.
Rodney loved the Lord and his Bible is filled with underlines and highlighting scriptures that were important to him. We found one of his favorites written in his handwriting in a notebook he kept in his pocket. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that that whosoever would believe in him would not perish but have everlasting life.” It gives us great comfort knowing how much he loved the Lord even through his illnesses and suffering. Rodney was serious most of the time and it was pretty hard to get him to laugh but we had a lot of fun with him. He loved to make his own food, which was usually a tuna fish sandwich and nothing ever phased him. We would prepare a wonderful meal or go to a movie or the Grand Canyon and we would ask him what did he think of it and he always answered, “It’s alright.”
The hardest thing our family had to endure was the loss of a loving, kind, giving brother and friend. As we closed his eyes and ushered him into the heavenly realm in the last moments of his life, we clung to our hope that he now sees the sky and it’s filled with diamonds, that he can see the crystal sea, and walk the streets of gold. We know he feels the brush of angels wings and the sound of music in heaven permeates his soul. Rodney is finally at rest and at peace and in the hollow of the hand of God. We know, however, that if God himself would ask, “Hey Rodney, what do you think of heaven?” Rodney would answer, “It’s alright!”