Jesse Rodriguez, 97, was called by the Lord Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, at Sentara Windermere Nursing Home, Virginia Beach. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, to the late Rumaldo and Rita Rodriguez.
Jesse was extremely proud of his 17 years of active and reserve Naval service, which began as a plank owner of the USS Yorktown CV-10, serving in the Pacific Theater throughout World War II. He met his loving wife, June Ellen Gowdy, while at Great Lakes Boot Camp, and they married Aug. 24, 1944. Ever loving for 75 years, June was at his bedside when he passed.
Following his service, Jesse spent a career with the Chicago Transit Authority, starting as a streetcar operator, working his way through bus driver, supervisor, station superintendent, instructor, charter sales manager and superintendent of employment and placement. He was a proud member of CTA Unions, Locals 241 and 308. Jesse loved Chicago! He raised his family in a house built in 1956, which was the only home they ever owned.
He was a staunch supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and prayed to St. Jude often. The family were steadfast members of St. Isidore Church in Blue Island, Illinois. Every summer holiday, and most weekends, were celebrated with a BBQ and picnic. The picnics quickly turned into mini reunions with family, coworkers, neighbors, shipmates and anyone else who could attend. Deteriorating health forced a move to Virginia Beach in 2013, where they resided with their son Glenn until further deterioration in health forced another move to Sentara Nursing Windermere. The family is ever grateful to the numerous caregivers, CNAs, nurses and other healthcare professionals who tended to Jesse while in Virginia Beach.
In addition to his wife June, Jesse is survived by brothers, Rueben, Ray and Roland Rodriguez; sisters, Rosie Gloria, Olivia Cockrell and Mary Weiland; children, Daniel Rodriguez of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Glenn Rodriguez, and his wife, Jean, of Virginia Beach, and Kathleen Greene of New Lenox, Illinois; and 13 grandchildren, and 27 great-grandchildren. Especially dear to Jesse were John Rodriguez and John Oliphant, along with many other beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and shipmates from the USS Yorktown (CV-10).
A Mass of Christian burial will be conducted at 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 24, at Church of the Holy Family, 1279 N. Great Neck Road, Virginia Beach. A funeral service will be conducted in New Lenox, Illinois, at a later date with burial following in Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, Illinois.
Share online condolences with the family at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts.