Kenneth "Pat" Patrick Rode

October 1, 1928December 9, 2018

K. Patrick Rode passed away peacefully on December 9th, 2018, surrounded by family and friends. He died a happy man in the truest sense, having led a good life, well-lived. Kenneth Patrick “Pat” Rode was a loyal husband, devoted father, grandfather and great-grandfather, military veteran, mentor and friend. He was born on October 1st, 1928. He persevered through a difficult childhood of ill health and the loss of his mother at an early age. He graduated from Grand Rapids Central High School in Grand Rapids, then enlisted in the military in 1948. Pat was a paratrooper in the 512th Airborne, a division that was the progenitor of the original Special Forces. He qualified as an Army Ranger and earned his Green Beret. While many from his division were eventually sent to combat in Korea, Pat stayed behind and participated in stateside operations, often featuring night drops into unknown territory to extract covert operators. Upon leaving the military, he pursued an education with the support of the G.I. bill. He initially studied at Aquinas College and completed his bachelor’s degree in 1955 at Calvin College in Grand Rapids.

In 1952, he married the one true love of his life, Dolores Maria Goodyke, later affectionately known as “Dody” Rode. They celebrated 65 years of marriage prior to Dody’s passing in March of 2018. Pat and Dody were faithful members of Fuller Avenue, Madison Avenue and Calvin Christian Reformed Churches during their time in Grand Rapids. Pat worked at the YMCA and as a teacher in the Grand Rapids Christian Schools throughout the 1950s and earned a Master’s Degree at the University of Michigan in 1958. As he continued teaching, he also became the YMCA summer camp director at Camp Manitou-lin outside of Grand Rapids from 1961-1965. In 1966, he became an assistant director at the flagship camp of the State YMCA of Michigan, Camp Hayo-Went-Ha on Torch Lake, north of Traverse City, Michigan. After a year as director at Camp Roger, outside of Grand Rapids, he began studying toward his PhD, returned to Camp Hayo-Went-Ha in 1969, and then finished his PhD degree at Michigan State University in 1970.

He took a job working for Central Michigan University in 1971 and returned to the assistant director’s position at Camp Hayo-Went-Ha that summer. He settled into a career of educating and coordinating future teachers for the education department at CMU during the school year, while shaping young minds and youth character at summer camp, which became his life’s work.

Pat and Dody moved to Traverse City, Michigan in 1979 where they were members of Faith Reformed Church. He took over as director at Camp Hayo-Went-Ha in 1981 and eventually took early retirement from CMU to become executive director of the State YMCA of Michigan, in addition to his summer duties. It is difficult to express and impossible to measure the vast influence Pat has had on countless people, through his teaching, coaching and leadership. During his tenure, literally thousands of young men and women from around the world experienced first-hand the inspiring leadership, guidance and genuine love that Pat so generously offered. He continued in this role until the late 1990s when he retired for a second time, only to take on a new role as author, commissioned to write a book on the century long history of Camp Hayo-Went-Ha. The final product, “On the Sloping Pine Hills” was completed in time for the Camp’s 100-year anniversary in 2003.

Not content to rest on his accomplishments, Pat took a position teaching history at Traverse City Christian School. His experience and background led to him being appointed as head of the search committee for a new headmaster. In the end, the administration and other members of the search committee determined that Pat himself was the best person for the job. So, he served as headmaster at Traverse City Christian until his third and final retirement in 2010.

His final years were spent visiting family and friends and traveling with and caring for Dody. Having lived an exemplary life in loving his family, in service to his fellow man and to his country, he recently pronounced himself ready to proceed to the next chapter and rejoin his loving wife. While fully capable of eloquent speech, it is not so much Pat’s words that will be remembered, but rather his deeds. He was uncomfortable in the spotlight, preferring to provide support quietly and unassumingly. His love and generosity to others was never motivated by any need or expectation of recognition, but rather by a deep sense of purpose and duty toward doing the right thing. A true friend of the friendless, defender of the defenseless, and comforter to the sorrowful, he will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.

Pat Rode is survived by his five loving children, Greg (Jennifer) of Indianapolis, IN; Mitchell (Alison) of Berryville, VA; Patrick of Bloomfield Hills, MI; Colleen Houpt (Steve) of Haslett, MI; and Christopher (Paula) of Chelsea, MI; 8 grandchildren, Tyler (Stacy), Colin, Katie, Nathan (Alyson), Amelia (Chris), Melissa, Ben and Anna; 3 great grandchildren, Dylan, Eleanor and Jack.

The family will receive visitors beginning at 11:00 AM, Friday, December 14th, at Faith Reformed Church in Traverse City. A funeral service will follow at 12:00 PM. A gathering of friends and family at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City is scheduled for 2:00 PM.


  • Memorial Visitation Friday, December 14, 2018
  • Memorial Service Friday, December 14, 2018

Kenneth "Pat" Patrick Rode

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