Rodney Richard Walker Sr., 69, former Grafton resident, died at 6:08 a.m., Sunday, March 6, 2011 at Alton Memorial Hospital surrounded by his family. He was born Oct. 7, 1941, and was the son of the late Donald & Cora Lee (McBride) Calvey. He was raised in Pittsfield, and graduated from Pittsfield High School. Soon after graduation he enlisted with the U.S. Navy, and served during the Vietnam War. Immediately after his discharge, Rodney began his long career with CIPS (now Ameren) as a lineman, and retired as a foreman after nearly 40 years of service.His love of the Illinois Fighting Illini, St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Rams was only surpassed by his family.Rodney married the love of his life, the former Sandra Jean Flynn on June 18, 1965 at the home of her parents, in Meredosia. During their 45 year marriage they shared many joys as well as several heartbreaks, but they two always managed to support one another, encourage, and be each others best friend through it all. Both Rodney and Sandy were concentrated on making those around them happy and not dwell on the misfortunes that life throws at you. They made those around them better people. Rodney once again dealt with another blow with the death of Sandy less than a year ago on May 1, 2010.Family was everything to Rodney, and he was very blessed to have a son & daughter in law, Rodney R. "Rick" & Teresa Walker Jr. of Grafton; along with three of Sandy sisters who blessed to consider him a brother as well, Tami Slocum of Woodson, Jilly Flynn of Richmond, Va., and Candace and her husband, Dale Woolsey of Roodhouse; along with his faithful canine companion, Natalie.In addition to his parents and his wife, Rodney was preceded in death by his two beloved children, both killed in seperate vehicle accidents, Shayne Jean Walker on July 13, 1988, and JayDe Walker of June 14, 1997; as well as a brother, David Calvey.Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Crawford Funeral Home in Jerseyville, where funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Thursday. Rev. Wayne Hammitt will officiate.He will laid to rest alongside his family in Scenic Hill Cemetery in Grafton.Memorials may be given to the Alton Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in honor of the compassionate care given to his wife during her illness.
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