January 13, 1948
December 12, 2019
Ray Allen Rodenbeck was called home by his heavenly Father on December 12, 2019, after a brief illness.
Ray was born in Brenham, Texas, on January 13, 1948. His parents were Elouise (Borchardt) and Walter Rodenbeck.
He was educated in Harrisburg School, Brenham High School, Blinn College, and Sam Houston State University.
Ray formed a strong work ethic, as he began working at an early age delivering bread. During his high school and Blinn College years, he began part-time work at Sealy Mattress Company. This began a 46-year career that brought him state and national acclaim. He began working in the factory and worked his way up to plant manager and from there went on to become a four-time National Plant Manager of the year, three-time winner of the Sealy CEO’s Award, and six-time manager of the plant receiving the National Sealy Circle of Excellence award. More important than any of these awards was the close relationship he had with all levels of the Sealy family—from the CEO to each and every employee of the Brenham factory. He knew his people by name and knew they were the keys to his success and the success of the factory. For several years, he was a plant manager, as well as a regional vice-president for Texas and Louisiana. His son has followed in his footsteps as a successful mattress retailer. It was said that Ray’s blood “ran Sealy blue.”
Ray was affectionately known by many names: his precious grandchildren called him Ray Baby—a title he was very proud of—and to friends and business associates he was “Rodie,” “Shooter,” or “Big Shooter.”
Community service and involvement in many shapes and forms became Ray’s passion. He was a very active member and officer of the Brenham Jaycees, Exchange Club, and Elks Club. He served on Prime Bank’s advisory board, the Economic Development Board, and the Industrial Foundation.
However, his greatest passions were baseball and softball. His love for baseball began as a Little League player. He went on to play on the Brenham Cub baseball team and, in 1966, was on the first Brenham team to make it to the state semi-finals. He also played intra-mural softball at Sam Houston. From 1971 until 1993, he coached boys Little League regular and All-Star teams and boys Big League teams. He loved coaching his son, Ryan, and his friends. In 1985, he added coaching girls Little League regular and All-Star teams. Those teams became very successful and went to the Little League State tournament twice. He then began coaching the Desperado ASA softball team that qualified for two national tournaments and several state tournaments, bringing home many trophies. When many of these players, including his daughter, won the first State 4A State Championship in 1996, he felt he had achieved a life-long dream. Watching his grandchildren play baseball, softball, basketball and soccer gave him the greatest pleasure. He was so looking forward to watching his granddaughter, Presley, pitch for the 2020 Cubette Softball team.
As a result of his dedication to the Little League program, he served in many capacities for many years on the Little League board. To enhance the baseball and softball programs, he and several others were instrumental in organizing the high school baseball and softball Alumni organizations. The main goal of these organizations was to provide scholarships and provide funding for things that would promote the success of the athletes and the teams.
His other athletic interests included golf, bowling, and watching the Houston Astros and Dallas Cowboys.
Losing too many dear friends and family to cancer prompted Ray to be a very active participant in the Relay for Life fundraiser, “Getting a Hook on Cancer.” He proudly and humbly offered the family farm as the location for 13 years.
After retiring in 2010, he continued as a consultant for several mattress manufacturers in Texas. In 2011, Ray, Ryan, and his Godson Bradley Jasinski created Quail Covey Run, LLC. They began raising and selling thousands of quail across Texas.
Ray was a life-long member of Zion Lutheran Church, where he was baptized and confirmed. His faith and love for his church and his Savior were nurtured by his beloved Granny Minnie Borchardt. This nurturing grew into years of serving as a Sunday School teacher, a church council member, president of the council and the congregation for two terms, and a member of the Contemporary Choir. He loved to sing and take part in many of the childrens’ musicals that became popular throughout the county.
Singing in church grew into singing for weddings, funerals, and at many public celebrations. Listening to and singing music from the 60’s was one of Ray’s greatest pleasures.
Ray is survived by the loving wife of 48 years, Theresa (Mikeska), his son and family, Ryan, Annie, Bennett and Emily; his daughter, Rachel Parker and children, Presley and Braxton, and Brian Grimm; father, Walter Rodenbeck; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law John and Dana Mikeska and Charles and Hertha Mikeska; aunts, Elverna Borchardt, Florence Borchardt and Allyne Buro; nieces, Heather (Mikeska) Margist and Ali (Mikeska) Reimer; Goddaughters Shiela (Borchardt) Spivey, Kaci (Mikeska) Abernathy, Fallon (Mikeska) Schovajsa, Gretchen (Galle) Vogler, and Natalie (Buro) Meekins. He also leaves behind many loving cousins. Family was of utmost importance to him.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Elouise; uncles; Herman and Franklin Borchardt and Lenord Buro; Alvin and Adeline (Borchardt) Studhalter, and Bernice (Borchardt) and Wilbert Eickhoff.
Serving as pall bearers will be Godsons, Bradley Jasinski, Anthony Jasinski, and Mace Studhalter; nephews, Chris Mikeska, R.J. Abernathy, Neal Reimer, Justin Margist, and Brandon Schovajsa; cousins, Donnie Studhalter, Jimmy Eickhoff, and Gary Buro; and close family friend, Walt Hannath.
Honorary pallbearers will be Ray’s Sealy family, the “Old Farts” Club, those he coached in baseball and softball, and a long list of friends that truly blessed his life.
Visitation will be Sunday, December 15, from 4 p.m-7 p.m. at Brenham Memorial Chapel. Services for Ray will be held at Zion Lutheran Church with Pastors Katrina Walther and Tim Christ officiating on Monday, December 16 at 11 a.m. Interment will be in the Wesley Brethren Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Zion Lutheran Church, the American Cancer Society, the Baseball Alumni Association, or the Softball Alumni Association.
Services are in the care of Brenham Memorial Chapel, 2300 Stringer St., Brenham, TX 77833. 979.836.3611 Tributes may be shared at www.BrenhamMemorialChapel.com.