March 1, 2017

Ernst Rodin 1925-2017 In Memoriam

My Journey with my Father – Eric Rodin

Dad was an exceptional and brilliant man.

Yes, he stubborn in his ways, but he taught all of us the meaning of work,
and as he would always say when a decision must be made, the path to take is the hardest one.
He said that things would work out better in the long run that way. 

I did not know Dad on the professional level as I took a different career path but as you know and can see, he was world renowned.  To this day I still don't understand how he could look at squiggly lines on EEG or MEG files all day long.

Dad was full of stories, and he would tell them       nonstop!!!.
He actually got a kick out of it when I finally made the statement to him, “ Dad, you talk too much.”  
That then became one of his many one-liners.

Dad grew up in Europe in the heart of the war and that shaped his many views on life.  He fought on the Russian front and he had all his tank stories but the biggest mission was just trying to get home to Vienna after the war just finished.  That was a true survival story.

After the war he worked his way into Med School and then came to the US with just a couple of dollars in his pocket and his medical degree but no job and a very bad accent!  His only way to find a job was to knock on doors (a lesson I later used as well ). But he was asking if anyone needed a physician.  He found a position in Staten Island and low and behold on his first day at the hospital an angel took him under her wings and taught him the ropes.  My Mother. They met in his first two weeks in the country and are now together again.  He loved her dearly and forever. 

That was a life lesson. 
I grew up knowing Dad in Grosse pointe by sailing in the summers and skiing in the winters.  The stories are many. At first I actually did not liking sailing as I was forced out every weekend to race against HIS peers and Dad was just a little competitive to say the least.  It was not until later in life that I realized the great opportunity this gave me to spend time with him.

One day I remember watching Detroit disappear under a squall line and Dad racing to make the windward mark so we could then take all the sails down and race to the downwind mark on just the mast.    Well, it worked, and we won that race. 

Another time racing down to the Detroit River we had to cross the freighter channel when we suddenly  ran out of wind in the middle of the channel. The current was going to make us miss the exit on the other side, so Dad threw out the anchor right there and plays chicken with an oncoming freighter just so that we would not forfeit the race by putting on the motor. 
Quitting something that he had started was not in his vocabulary.

I remember being out in a complete fog where you could not even see the other side of the boat and hearing the voices of other boats and Dad yelling at them from the top of his lungs to “Poof, Vanish and Evaporate,” simply because they were in a position to blanket us from any air that might develop. That became another of his famous lines.

When I was older and fell in love with sailing myself, I was able to go on many sailing adventures to the waters down South with Dad.  When we were sailing our boat, Flybaby, down to the Florida Keys I remember one very miserable day in Ft Lauderdale when it was 30 degrees amidst heavy rain and wind. Dad finally showed me a different side of his personality as he yelled, “GET ME OFF THIS BOAT!!! “     That was not like him, and we always kidded each other about that later. 

We also had a crazy night off of St. Thomas island where we thought we were in good shape when we set anchor, but within a couple of hours the wind and the waves really started to howl, to the point that Dad, who was sleeping in the forward berth, and was being lifted up and levitated on each wave. 
The funny part was the radio show we had on was a Rock station and their tag line was we were 
“ GOING TO ROCK AND ROLL ALL NIGHT LONG. “   Dad was not amused at the time, but we joked about it for all the years after. 

Skiing with him was also entertaining
One day when I was young we were at a breakfast dinner and this  guy happens to pull in driving a Hurst to the slopes.  That began the conversation whether he was the optimist or the pessimist.
You have to know Dad to understand that one. 

Dad took us on some great skiing trips.  We started with trips up North to Boyne Mt. every year.
One year when I was 11 we were coming out here to Utah but our schedule changed and he could not make the new date so Pete, Mom and I made the trip out here as Kris was in Europe. 
I fell in love with this place.  The next year Dad took us to Austria on a ski trip and I really hurt his feelings as he showed off his homeland , as this kid kept telling him the skiing was “NOT LIKE UTAH”
He did not take that well.   Years later, after I had lived out here for a year while flying and skiing in ‘82
Dad was retiring and looking for a place to be as he wanted out of Detroit.
Well you can imagine what I said.    “ UTAH is pretty nice.”  
They both agreed, but it was Mom who found this house and told him he needed to pack  and that he was moving right away.  

They both made a great place here for all of us to come to, and let all of the expanding family spend some great times together. 

Dad truly loved Mom, she was his anchor in many ways.  After Mom’s passing Kris really stepped up to the plate and tried to fill Mom’s shoes as best she could.  She filled Dad’s last year with huge amount of activities.  From having the nightly dinner dates and weekend drives up the canyons, to taking him back to Europe for a month, glider flying and even got him in a snow cat to groom the slopes of Alta. 

Kris we can’t thank you enough for what you provided for him. 

Dad was working right up to the day he died, but he was ready to go.  He had published and submitted both his last blog and his research paper on Saturday, and was able to spend a wonderful last dinner date with Amber and his great grandkid, Weston, and even served by his favorite waiter, Carter, Saturday night.  

To his last day he lived by his motto of “you finish what you start.”
    Mid day Sunday he passed from a broken heart from the loss of Mom. 

Dad,  You taught all of us so much, not only world history but real life stuff too, like 
“Happiness is a Bow wave “ 
meaning you always need to be moving forward and growing in life, don’t settle for average.

Safe Travels Dad,
May your seas finally be calm and your winds fair.

We love you and will miss you.   You were a Great Dad.


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