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Rod Eccleston

Joseph Rodney Eccleston, age 84, of Leon, Iowa, the son of Joseph Edwin and Alma Louisa (Watt) Eccleston, was born September 28, 1937, in Satanta, Kansas. He passed away surrounded by his family at the Decatur County Hospital in Leon on Thursday, October 7, 2021.

Rod, as he was known, was born in the car because he was in a hurry to arrive. He lived in Kansas until the 7th grade. His family then moved to a farm in Genoa, Colorado, where he graduated from Genoa Public School in 1955. After attending Park School of Business in Denver, Colorado, he enlisted into the United States Navy. He served on board the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid which is now berthed on the Hudson River in New York as a museum. After four years of service, Rod returned to Genoa and started working at Eastern Slope Rural Telephone Association Inc as a lineman and later as the manager.

In 1960, he was at a VFW dance and asked a pretty girl to join him on the dance floor. He married that girl, Velma Lorene Slise, on August 25, 1962, at the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Genoa. They made their home in Genoa, then Flagler, Colorado, and were blessed with two children, Jay and Marci. In 1980, they got a bonus son, Alan Millward, from Australia through the AFS international exchange program.

In 1970, Rod was hired to be the District Manager at the Grand River Mutual Telephone Office in Leon, Iowa. He held this position for 29 years, retiring in May of 2000. Afterwards, he decided to keep himself busy by delivering groceries and stocking shelves for Hy-Vee part time.

When driving into Leon for the first time, Rod saw the golf course and said, “I’m going to join that club no matter what.” He enjoyed Men’s Night on Wednesdays and Two-Ball on Friday nights. He golfed hundreds and hundreds of holes on the course and dedicated many hours to it. He was an active member. Rod served as President and worked very hard with others to change the greens from sand to grass. His favorite holes were 4 and 7 because he had a hole in one on each of them. Rod loved being with his friends at the club. That included playing cards each morning during the week. He really enjoyed taking his grandson golfing as much as possible.

Other activities included being a long time Lion’s Club member and participating in Rotary. Rod also was part of the Central Decatur Football Chain Gang for over 40 years.

If Rod wasn’t on the golf course, he was at one of his grandchildren’s activities. He did not miss a performance, sporting event, or accomplishment of Jake and Holly.

Rod was an amazing husband, father, papa and friend. He will be greatly missed and forever loved.
Preceding him in death were his parents and son, Jay, on February 22, 2019. Survivors include his wife, Velma Eccleston of Leon, Iowa; daughter, Marci Sesker and husband, Brett of Ashland, Nebraska; grandchildren, Jacob Sesker of Omaha, Nebraska and Holly Sesker of Omaha, Nebraska; sister, Colleen Taylor of Livingston, Texas; brother, Marlin Eccleston of Baytown, Texas; and other relatives and many friends.

A memorial service will be held at the Slade – O’Donnell Funeral Home in Leon, Iowa, at 2 pm on Sunday, October 17, 2021, with Pastor Rick Hawkins officiating. Burial will be at a later date.
Celebration of life and visitation will be immediately after the service at The Leon Golf and Country Club.
The family will establish memorials for special gifts in the Leon community.


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