Cover photo for Rodney J. Wagonmaker's Obituary
Rodney J. Wagonmaker Profile Photo
1939 Rodney 2023

Rodney J. Wagonmaker

August 22, 1939 — January 29, 2023

Kalamazoo, MI

Rodney Jo Wagonmaker “Rod” (83) of Kalamazoo, MI passed away on January 29, 2023, surrounded by his family. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Clause and Elieen Wagonmaker, and his only sibling and his wife, Scott and Linda Wagonmaker. He is survived by his wife of almost 50 years, Shelby Wagonmaker. They had six children between them, all of whom he was very proud: Kristi (Matt) Jacobs, Leesa Rosenbaum, Sheri Masters, Chip (Ann) Rosenbaum, Jodi Wagonmaker, and Jeff (Christel) Wagonmaker. He has one brother-in-law, Bill Taylor, and several nieces.

Affectionately known as “Poppa” and “Gramps,” he will be missed by his seven grandchildren: Josh (Kara) Hogmire, Kory (Chelsey) Wagonmaker, Collin (Ashly) Rosenbaum, Alec Rosenbaum, Jacob Rosenbaum, Jeremy Wagonmaker, and Sydnie (Brexton) Butcher. His great grandchildren are Maddyx and Sienna Wagonmaker, Nathan and Ansley Hogmire, and Briggs Butcher.

Rod was a lifelong resident of Kalamazoo, growing up in the Milwood neighborhood and graduating from University High. He was very involved in sports and scouting as a young man. He received a BA from Western Michigan University and then served his country as a Tank Commander in the 8th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, stationed in Germany. The 8th’s motto “Honor and Courage” carried him into the National Guard where he served as a Captain.

The stories about Rod are never ending. He was always on the go, and he and Shelby enjoyed traveling many places with their friends and family. They often camped in their 5th Wheel or could be found out to dinner with their close-knit group of friends. He was a constant hunter and loved to coach when the kids were young. He had a quick wit but was always the consummate professional, working in sales almost his whole life, finishing his career with Harold Ziegler’s, where he spent the last 35 years.

His children will attest that he ran a “tight ship” as an ex-military man in control of six kids. He worked hard to provide for his family, taking them on weekend excursions and family vacations throughout their childhood. Grandkids share in the stories of the skiing and camping trips he orchestrated, and he was especially fond of having the whole “crew” over for the Holidays. He was an avid sports spectator and loved a sunny afternoon watching his grandkids play ball.

He and his brother, Scott were huge NASCAR fans and were regulars at MIS in June and August - usually missing Father’s Day and their birthdays because of a race. He traveled to the Bristol Speedway every year, when not with Scott, with his friends. He will be missed there. A football game was always on in the background if you happened to stop in on a weekend, and boy, did he love his Michigan Wolverines. He would lament or converse about their latest game to whomever cared to listen.

And of course, there was the ever-present pipe. Rod never missed an opportunity to “smoke a bowl”. The smell of his Borkum Riff will bring back memories to anyone who knew him. We will "write if we find work" and will miss him terribly. "Roger that."

The family will inter his ashes with full military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan on Friday April 21st at noon. A Celebration of Life will follow that same day; location still to be determined.

Donations in Rod’s name can be sent to Berean Baptist Church or the Wounded Warrior Project. Please click the preferred link below: or

Arrangements entrusted to Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 3926 S. 9th St, Kalamazoo MI 49009. To view Rodney’s personalized web page, please visit

To order memorial trees in memory of Rodney J. Wagonmaker, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Military Honors

Friday, April 21, 2023

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Fort Custer National Cemetery (Augusta, Michigan)

, Augusta, MI 49012

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