Rodney Spencer Hart, 72, lifetime Ellensburg resident, passed away on Thursday, September 10, 2020 at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. A private family gathering to celebrate Rod’s life will be held in Puyallup, Washington. A celebration of Rod’s life is also planned for Ellensburg with those details to be announced.
Rod was born on September 1, 1948 in Ellensburg, the second of two children born to Gale L. & Leona Mae (Spencer) Hart. He grew up in Ellensburg, graduating from Ellensburg High School. While in high school, Rod played on the EHS football team and played the trumpet in the EHS Jazz Band. Following his graduation from CWU, Rod lived briefly in California and worked as a teacher before returning to Ellensburg.
Rod was not afraid to work. His earliest job was running his own very successful lawn mowing business. While attending CWU he worked as a bartender at the Hi-Way Grill and later at the Holiday Inn and Schaake’s Packing Plant. He later purchased Adeline’s Restaurant and started Odd Jobs, a handyman driven company, that later turned into Odd Jobs Excavation. He retired in 2011. He also served as a firefighter/EMT with the Ellensburg Fire Department and was a realtor. Rod was a true entrepreneur.
A car and motor enthusiast, it only seemed natural that Rod would meet his future wife, Veronica Vallet, while admiring her car in the parking lot of Yakima Federal Savings and Loan. That conversation led to more conversations over coffee and they married on September 11, 1993. Rod and Veronica enjoyed traveling which included yearly trips to Mexico, road trips across the country to visit family and friends and many trips to the Washington and Oregon Beaches.
Rod was a free spirit and a very creative man who enjoyed making people laugh, was spontaneous and delighted in adventures and creative pursuits. He enjoyed developing and tending to his home’s landscaping over the years. He was a gourmet chef, often putting his own spin on recipes to improve the flavor. He enjoyed driving, caring for and maintaining his Red GMC Sierra pickup. He also thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with his family, especially his grandchildren.
Rod is survived by his wife, Veronica, at their home in Ellensburg; step-son Ken (Julie) Thomas of Bothell and step-daughter Katherine DeWitt of Tacoma; grandchildren Cole Thomas, Kylie Woeck, Jessica Bellwood and Brittany DeWitt as well as three great-grandchildren – Matthew, Michael and Kadie. He is also survived by his sister Connie (Jim) Warren of Orting and nephews Danny (Wendi) Warren and Dennis (Bernice) Warren. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Memorial contributions in Rod’s honor are suggested to the FISH Food Bank, 804 Elmview Rd. Ellensburg, WA 98926. Johnston & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with caring for Rod’s family. Online condolences may be left at www.johnston-williams.com
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