Paul Estel Rodecap, formerly of Mora, died from COVID-19 on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, at the Cambridge Medical Center. He was an active 95-year-old until contracting the virus.
He was born to John and Minnie (Shaffer) Rodecap on Aug. 23, 1925, at home in Cumberland, Maryland, where he also spent his childhood. After graduating in 1943 from Ft. Hill High School in Cumberland, he volunteered in the U.S. Army to serve his country during WWII. He was active in the European war effort for 20 months.
After the war, Paul attended Western Kentucky University School of Business in Bowling Green, Kentucky, under the G.I. bill. While attending school he met the love of his life, Evelyn J. Wilson, a resident of Bowling Green. They were united in marriage on Aug. 15, 1947. They were blessed with two children, Paula and Daniel.
After graduating in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree in commerce, he joined the education staff at Jackson Business University in Jackson, Michigan for two years. He then secured a position with Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Akron, Ohio. Two years later he received a promotional transfer to the new Gaseous Diffusion Plant being built in Piketon, Ohio. Goodyear Atomic Corp. was chosen to be the operating contractor. He was selected as a key member of the “start-up” team and remained with Goodyear for 11 years. During this time the Rodecaps lived in Chillicothe and Waverly, Ohio. In 1962 the family moved to his hometown where he served as comptroller for the city of Cumberland, population of 33,000.
In 1966 he began his long career in hospital finance, serving as vice president/director of finance in hospitals in Cumberland, Maryland; Cooperstown, New York; Chillicothe, Ohio; Oneonta, New York; Golden Valley, and ultimately, Mora. During his hospital service he obtained “Fellow” status in the Health Care Financial Management Assn. With over 450 members he became one of only 13 with the title “Fellow.” He was subsequently presented the “William G. Follmer” merit award for outstanding service. Working in hospitals was a good fit for him because he loved people and he was a competent and compassionate leader.
Living in Mora allowed him and his wife to be close to their four grandchildren. They loved going to all of their school events, athletic games, dance recitals and theater productions. While in Mora the Rodecaps were active in the Mora United Methodist Church, singing on the Praise Team and serving on many church committees. He also served as a volunteer for the Mora Food Pantry and Meals on Wheels. He was a charter member of the Mora Dollars for Scholars, board member of Living Solutions (Vasa House), member of Seven County Senior Federation and American Legion Post No. 201.
Like many other “hardy” Minnesotans he and his wife moved to sunny south Florida after he retired from Kanabec Hospital, only to return a few years later due to health concerns.
After his wife’s death in 2010 he made a new friend with whom he traveled and enjoyed many cultural and athletic activities for more than eight years. During that time he lived in White Bear Lake, where he was a devout member of the White Bear United Methodist Church and a tenor with the Silver Harmony Singers. He moved to GracePointe Crossing in Cambridge last fall.
During his younger years, he enjoyed square dancing, softball, bowling and golf. He also loved fishing, playing cards and reading. He was also an avid sports fan, especially baseball. He even watched this year’s Super Bowl from his ICU hospital bed. He remained active in his mature years, even traveling to visit his grandchildren in Texas and Costa Rica when he was 94 years old.
He loved his wonderful wife, Evelyn “Evie” of 63 years and considered her his best friend. Without her support and love he felt he would have been nothing. He also loved the Lord, his children, grandchildren, exchange students and nieces and nephews. He adored his great-grandchildren. He was a very special man, kind and thoughtful. He was loved and respected by all who knew him. He will be truly missed.
He survived World War II, 31 years after a quintuple heart bypass surgery, three cancers, two car crashes and “countless years of Minnesota sports futility.” In the end it was COVID-19 that took him home. To honor Paul the family requests that everyone wear proper masks, social distance and get vaccinated. Paul said at the end, “This is a terrible disease and I don’t want anyone else to get it.”
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Evelyn; brother, Raymond Rodecap; and sister, Arlean Sansom.
He is survived by his children, Paula Vanecek (Victor) of Mora and Daniel Rodecap of Rush City; grandchildren, Aaron Vanecek (Rebeca) of Turrialba, Costa Rica, Andrew Vanecek (Madeleine) of Varnamo, Sweden, Valerie Cavanagh (Daniel) of Arlington, Texas, Alicia Jones of Alaska; great-grandchildren, Nevaeh Becker, Parker, Ava and Ella Jones, Calvin, Josephine and Eleanor Cavanagh, Mackenzie and Veikko Vanecek and Saga and Vilgot Vanecek.
Memorials are preferred to Mora Dollars for Scholars or Mora United Methodist Church Permanent Memorial Fund.
No funeral will be held at this time due to the pandemic. Military Honors were provided by the Mora American Legion Post 201. Burial was in the Oakwood Cemetery in Mora. Arrangements are by the Akkerman Ingebrand Funeral Home of Mora. Condolences may be posted at www.aifuneralhome.com.