William M. Rodeschin was born October, 1926 in Newport, New Hampshire and has spent his entire life living on the property that he was born and raised. Like many from the era, Bill left school early to help the family work what was a large chicken farm, and to drive chicken delivery trucks between the farm in Newport, to Boston and New York City.
With war raging, when Bill (Rody was the family nickname) turned 18 in 1944, he knew it was his turn to enlist, so drove the two hours (then) to Manchester, NH and joined the Marine Corps. That spring of 1945 he took the train from Boston, Massachusetts to Yemassee, South Carolina, and then basic training at Parris Island. Finishing basic, Bill headed for Camps Lejeune and Pendleton for additional training; then by ship to Hawaii, Eniwetok, and then in July, 1945….Guam.
His early missions on Guam were with the 3rd Division, 9th Marines, in the jungles hunting hold-out Japanese soldiers….then, working supply and service for the various ground and air bases on the island before being transferred to China with the 1st Division, 7th Marines. In China he was assigned to a weapons company as peace keepers and guarding railroads and supply trains.
Bill was honorably discharged at Great Lakes, Ill October 1946.
Returning home, he resumed driving chicken delivery truck for a short time for his mother’s chicken business, and then for a while, driving dump trucks and learning masonry for the growing number of highway construction projects in New Hampshire at the time.
The biggest changes that would both affect and define his future occurred when he began training as a machinist in what was known then as New England’s “Precision Valley.” He learned his trade working for Jones & Lampson and Co. (a precision tool manufacture) beginning in 1950. Then….building on his machinist training and his love for firearms, in 1962 Bill started (his brother Hank would later join him) Rody’s Gun Shop, a retail and custom gun shop; selling guns and shooting supplies, doing repairs, gunsmithing, and building custom rifles….a business that he continued to own and operate (along with his brother until Henry’s passing) until he passed.
In 1972 he had an invitation from Sturm, Ruger & Co. (today the largest American manufacturer of sporting firearms) to come to work for them….using both his talents as a machinist and as a gunsmith….to help with the company’s new and expanding woodworking department; building gunstock lathe turning masters, setting up machines, and eventually as a shop floor supervisor.
Bill retired in 1990, purchased a Class A motorhome, and for the next 10 years he and his wife Barbara toured the U.S. during the winters while continuing to operate his business when not traveling.
Prior to the war Bill was a member and a First Class Scout of the Boy Scouts of America, Troop No. 318 (often participating in the area war scrap drives). Following the war he returned to scouting as Assistant Scout Master, Troop 318 and Scout Master for Troop 325.
He has been certified and a volunteer for New Hampshire Fish and Game, as a Hunter Education instructor; just completing 56 active years. Bill also coached the Indians Little League team for three years, and many of his team members stayed in touch and remember him fondly for the life’s lessons he taught.
Bill was an active member of the American Legion; the Kearsarge Marines; a life member of the Old Breed, and the NRA.
Proud of his service and his status as a WWll Marine, Bill flies the Marine Corps flag in front of his home every day (and we will continue to do so in his honor).
Bill is predeceased by his brothers Severin and Henry, sister Ruth, and his son, Alan; He is survived by his sisters Irene Parmenter, Catherine (Kiki) Miller, and Frieda Bourne; His wife of 70 years, Barbara; son Bill Rodeschin (Lynn); daughter Darlene McKenney (Dennis); four grandchildren, Chris McKenney (Lexi), Marc McKenney (Katie), Erica Ingalls (Ryan), and Mariah McKenney; as well as several great grandchildren.
Calling hours will be Monday, August 9th beginning at 5:00 PM at the Newton Bartlett Funeral Home. His funeral will begin with a Catholic mass Tuesday, August, 10th at Saint Patrick’s Church, at 1:00 PM in Newport, followed by a graveside ceremony at Saint Patrick’s Catholic cemetery.
If attending calling hours, mask will not be required (subject to State rules), but we do ask you to consider wearing one to help protect the health of those who may be most vulnerable.
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