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Rodney J. Marzolf

July 23, 1932 - July 11, 2020

Beloved husband, father, brother, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend Rodney J. “Rod” Marzolf, 87, was born into eternal rest on Saturday, July 11, 2020. He was born on July 23, 1932, in Mount Pleasant, Michigan to Orley T. and Beulah (Goodwin) Marzolf.

Rod and Marilyn Lee Kirchner were married on June 28, 1958, and recently celebrated 62 years together. He and Marilyn had seven children – Stephan (Lisa) Marzolf of Shelbyville, Michigan; Teresa (John) Prego of Medfield, Massachusetts; Peter Marzolf, of Spring Mountain, Pennsylvania; Timothy (Beth) Marzolf of Arcadia, Indiana; Anne (Brad) Birkholz of Watertown, Wisconsin; and Matthew (Lawana) Marzolf of Memphis, Tennessee. A son, Michael Marzolf, preceded him in death. He also leaves behind his beloved grandchildren, Joshua Marzolf, Stephanie (Chris) Roof of Michigan; Mikaela, Gabrielle, Isabel and Nathan Prego of Massachusetts; Jordan and Jacob Marzolf of Pennsylvania; Nicholas (Meghan), Michael and Ashley Marzolf of Indiana and Austin, Texas; Kaitlyn and Samantha Birkholz of Wisconsin and Washington; and Jayden and Luke Marzolf of Tennessee. He was a great-grandfather to a very recent addition to the family, Noah Christopher Roof, born July 5, 2020. Rod is survived by two sisters, Julia Haughey of Concord, Michigan, and Jean Campbell of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was preceded in death by his parents, Beulah and Orley, and his brothers, Richard Marzolf and Ross Marzolf.

Rod was a graduate of Michigan State University, interrupting his studies after his second year to serve in the US Army. Although by degree he was an MSU Spartan, he was an enthusiastic Fighting Irish fan and supporter of the University of Notre Dame. He and his family lived in South Bend for many years when he sold his successful start-up business to the company that would later become Alltel. Midnight mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus was a Christmas tradition much loved by the entire family, and Notre Dame football weekends were always a celebration and source of animated discussions, particularly when friends and family who supported Notre Dame opponents were visiting town.

Family and faith were of the utmost importance to Rod, and he embraced both fully. For many years, he was a Boy Scout volunteer and leader, and a constant supporter of the many sports and activities his children were involved in. He was always proud of the accomplishments of his family and loved to share their achievements, often telling stories about various kids and grandkids while seated in his favorite recliner in the family room. He volunteered as a Eucharistic Minister, Finance committee member and various other roles at the parishes the family belonged to in Grand Rapids, Michigan; South Bend, Indiana, and New Berlin, Wisconsin. He loved being a member of the Sunday evening scripture group at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in New Berlin, and their many group retreats and gatherings. Rod and Marilyn also enjoyed taking their kids on the road for summer vacations, hauling a 26-foot trailer behind the family station wagon. This frequently led to an enthusiastic expression of faith from the back seat, where the kids prayed that his tendency to become engrossed in sightseeing as he drove did not result in an “off-road” adventure. Rod loved his family deeply, and his stories from the recliner will be missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, or the charity of your choice.

Visitation and Mass of Christian burial were held Monday, July 20, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church (12700 West Howard Avenue, New Berlin, Wisconsin). Private burial followed. Due to Covid-19, a memorial celebration may be held at a later date.

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