Emerson High School, Class of 1965

Gary, Indiana

George Rodriguez

Porter, IN - George Rodriguez, age 55 of Porter, IN, passed away Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2002 of Glioblastoma multiforme, a malignant brain tumor. Throughout the course of his illness, which began with the diagnosis on October 15, 2000, George had three craniotomies, participated in a clinical vaccine trial at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and endured radiation and chemotherapy protocols in order to keep the tumor from growing. Although he knew this tumor has no cure, he both wanted to live and also to give others with this illness a better chance to survive longer by aggressively participating in his medical treatment. He exemplified how to balance hope and reality in dealing with a severe illness by exhibiting an unfailing positive attitude, by keeping himself fully active and engaged in activities with family and friends as long as possible, and by attending Augsburg Lutheran Church in Porter regularly. Until his retirement in 2001, George was a control room operator at the NIPSCO Michigan City Generating Station and previously worked at Mitchell and Schaefer Stations. He was employed by NIPSCO for 31 years. A Vietnam War Veteran, George served in the US Navy on the USS Belmont, where he was a communications specialist. He was an outstanding assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 76 in Merrillville for many years. Recently, he was a volunteer with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and participating in the NIPSCO Environmental Challenge Fund. George is survived by his wife, Karen; daughter, Amy; son, Michael and wife, Shelley; mother, Eloisa; sisters and husbands, Gladys Walsh and Frank Morin and Jennie Rehtorik and Gary Wynkoop; step brother, Rafael Rodriguez Jr. and wife, Anna; stepson, Justin Holland and wife, Tisha Crowe; grandchildren, Serena, Justin, Samantha and Robert; niece, Debbie Walsh; nephews and their wives, Tom Walsh, Chris and Jamie Rehtorik and family and Mark and Susan Rehtorik and family; father and mother-in-law, Mr & Mrs Robert Nelson; sisters and brothers-in-law, Chris and Dave Heironimus and family, and Robert and Ingrid Nelson and family. Also, former wife, Gail Rodriguez; former father and mother-in-law, Mr. & Mrs. James Spearman and former sisters and brother-in-law, Carol Strom, James Jr. and Julie Spearman and Kathy and Chuck Blackburn and family. Funeral services for George will be conducted at 10 a.m. Wednesday, December 4, 2002, at the Augsburg Lutheran Church at the corner of Beam Street and Mineral Springs Road in Porter, Indiana, Pastor Erik Bernth will officiate. Burial will follow at Angelcrest Cemetery in Valparaiso, Indiana. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, December 3, 2002 at the Edmonds & Evans Funeral Home, 517 Broadway, Chesterton, Indiana, from 4-8 p.m. Visitation will also be held on Wednesday from 9 a.m. until the time of service at 10 a.m. at the church. George's family wishes to thank all of our friends who helped us through this difficult illness, as well as Pastors Bernth and Korbel and all the parishoners of Augsburg Lutheran Church; George's co-workers from NIPSCO; Karen's coworkers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; staff of the Carlysle Inn in Los Angeles; and finally, Doctors Yu, Black, Janus, Zeltzer, Von Roenn, Khosla, Modur, Helenowski, Nurse Karin Sydes, and all the other nurses and doctors from Rush Presbyteran-St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, the Northwest Indiana clinics, and the Visiting Nurses Association, who cared about George and were inspired by him to keep working to find a cure. Instead of flowers or money, people are encouraged to contribute to the American Brain Tumor Association.

Published in the Post-Tribune on 12/2/2002

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