Rodney B. Harrington

BETHEL – Rodney B. Harrington passed away on June 19, 2019. Born in East Bethel, Rodney was raised in the Irish Neighborhood by his parents, Bernard and Maude Cummings Harrington, along with his three younger brothers, Gerald, Franklin and Raymond. Growing up during the Great Depression created a profound and lasting affect.He graduated from Gould Academy in June 1950 after attending local grade schools. He went on to graduate from the University of Maine, Orono, with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry in June 1954 and was then drafted into the U.S. Army, serving as a medic for two years in Germany.Thanks to the GI Bill, Rod was able to enroll at Oklahoma State University and complete a master’s degree in Agriculture and Applied Science. From 1957-1959, he worked at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and completed another master’s degree.While living in Australia, he met and married Gwenith Smith on July 4, 1959. He returned to Oklahoma State University with Gwen and completed a PhD. in Agriculture and Applied Science, 1963. He joined the faculty at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., in January 1962, teaching a course in statistics and developing computer programs that led to receiving large grants to conduct research in the Department of Animal Science. After having two children with Gwen, her health dramatically declined and she returned to Australia; they ultimately divorced.While working at Purdue, he met and married Jonalou Heitman, in December of 1972.While living in West Lafayette, Ind., he served on the Board of Directors for the Purdue Employees Credit Union for 15 years, serving as chairman of the board several times.He retired Professor Emeritus from Purdue University, after almost 35 years. He and Jonaloue moved to Tennessee, where they enjoyed their dream lake home. Tragically, Jonalou died of cancer in 1996.Upon returning to Bethel to live out the remainder of his life, he served as chairman of the Board of Directors of Tri Town Ambulance and also as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Bethel Historical Society. He was an avid fisherman and enjoyed the great outdoors. He also enjoyed puzzles and was a voracious reader. He benefited tremendously from reconnecting with his family in Bethel, which included cherished nieces and nephews, living the last part of his life with companion, Alberta Merrill, with whom he had many wonderful times spent snowmobiling, traveling and entertaining with friends.He is survived by his two children, Rodney and Ellen, along with his son-in-law, Tony. Family and friends may attend a time of visitation on Saturday, June 22 from 2 p.m to 4 p.m. at Chandler Funeral Home, Greenleaf Chapel, 37 Vernon St., Bethel. Private interment will be at the Irish Neighborhood Cemetery. Online condolences may be shared with his family at

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