Bonnie “Jean” Rodenbeck

Bonnie “Jean” Rodenbeck

Bonnie “Jean” Rodenbeck, 98, died Dec. 2, 2020.

She was born Jan. 23, 1922 in Topeka, Kansas, and was adopted by Henry and Fern Wilson of Colby, Kansas at the age of five.

She traveled by train to Colby by herself to meet her new family for the first time.

She graduated from Colby High School in 1939 with Francis Rodenbeck, who enlisted in the Army Air Corps before Pearl Harbor.

She visited him with his parents and his brother before he was deployed overseas for 2½ years. 

He asked for her hand in marriage and the couple were married Dec. 22, 1941 in front of the Methodist pastor’s Christmas tree at the parsonage.

While Mr. Rodenbeck was away, Mrs. Rodenbeck worked for the State Department in Washington, D.C. and for the Secret Service branch of the War Department in Miami, Florida.

After the war, the couple moved to Painesville, Ohio with baby daughter Bonnie (McDonald). Daughters Karyle and JoAnn were born to round out the family.

Mr. Rodenbeck was promoted to management and was transferred to southern California where Bonnie and Karyle graduated. JoAnn graduated from Center High School during a season of farming in the San Luis Valley.

Mr. and Mrs. Rodenbeck moved to Salida and bought Western Auto distributorship and the Doveton building on lower F Street. 

They sold the business after a couple of years and Mrs. Rodenbeck went to work for Salida Gas and Mr. Rodenbeck worked at the Bottle Shop.

Mrs. Rodenbeck worked in nursing homes in Corning, Iowa and Mesa, Arizona and later enjoyed RVing the western U.S. with friends and brother Floyd’s family.

After her adoptive mother died, Mrs. Rodenbeck found her birth mother and added six more brothers and sisters to her family.

She was preceded in death by her husband; son-in-law Chuck; grandson Paul; and many other family members.

Survivors include her three daughters; three granddaughters; eight great-grandchildren and a great-great-granddaughter. 

Burial will take place in Colby, Kansas.

Arrangements were with Lewis and Glenn Funeral Home.


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