March 1, 2017

Ernst Rodin 1925-2017 In Memoriam

Dad's Memorial Service – Peter Rodin


  It is always hard to try to capture the essence of one's life in just a few short words.  If there was one phrase that best describes Dad it would be that he spent his whole life trying to impart knowledge onto others; granted it wasn't always met with a receptive audience, but as you all know he was tenacious in getting his point across.


Dad requested that at his memorial service the poem by Richard Kipling "If" be read as it held for him special meaning and significance, and he made sure all of his family not just read it but lived its virtues.



IF you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools: 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!


Dad had a significant influence on all our lives almost every day starting very early in our youth.  For me the quality time we spent sailing racing various yachts on Lake St. Clare had a profound influence.  He always said you learn a lot about a person including their character on a boat especially racing since it encompasses almost every human emotion and there is nowhere to escape in a small craft- trust me I got to experience the whole gamut of his wide repertoire of emotional responses both the good and the more challenging.  It was always entertaining being around Dad because you never quite knew just what next would pour out from his incredible brain and out his mouth; filtering his comments was strictly not an option.


I recall one time when we were out for just a peaceful Sunday cruiseon a beautiful summer day on the Lake with just the two of us.  Dad was very concerned about my future as I hadn't quite settled on a career path.  Options had narrowed somewhat as I spent my first couple of years in college enjoying the sailing life on the Michigan State University Sailing Team and had as my crew my companion who would become my wife, Laura.  Needless to say studying during that time was not paramount in my life.  So Dad being a concerned parent was pushing me to pursue medical school over in Europe as he still held a strong affinity for the European lifestyle.  I gave it some thought but then said to him, "you know, Dad, don't worry I will be okay, but for right now I'm having too much fun  just being kid." Then in one of those rare moments of reflection he said to me, “you are right, Peter; enjoy this time as you will never have your youth back.“ I took that to heart and certainly enjoyed some of the best years of my life.


When the time did come to getting serious, I did go into medicine but the next dilemma was what discipline to pursue.  Both Mom and Dad were brilliant and true luminaries in the field of neuroscience.  They were unique, and I felt we did not need another Rodin in the same field.  There was also a comment that always stuck with me regarding neurology (no offense to those here in the field) where he said "neurology has allowed me to use my intellectual capacity to study, research and diagnose various neurodegenerative disorders of which I can do very little to change their outcome.". Well, that didn't sound very encouraging to me, so I settled on family medicine and I think my parents came to appreciate that choice of disciplines especially in their later years as they frequently consulted me on the various medical maladies that afflict us as we age.  There were so very proud of all the accomplishments of their kids and there grandkids and it gave him and Mom great peace in their last years here at 3 Mountainwood .


Finally sometimes you get glimpses of a person’s heart where you least expect it.  One of those moments came just the other day here in the kitchen after Dad's passing, Kris, Eric and myself were discussing some house renovations with Fabian who my parents had come to rely on and truly appreciated for all his efforts for the house maintenance and he recalled a statement that stuck with him. He and Dad had been talking about life experience and Fabian mentioned to him that he must be very proud of all he had accomplished. Dad reflected and commented back, "it's not so much pride (as that might indicate a touch of arrogance), but I am grateful, grateful to have been given the skills in order to do what I have done.”  Doesn't that say at all.


Dad we are all very grateful that you were our Dad; we will miss you, may you  sail on in peace  -sail on.


Feel free to use statements from this site but please respect copyright and indicate source. Thank you.

Please E-mail this article to a friend

Return to index!