Clifford Rodney Rodriguez Jr., known to his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren as Poppa, died Wednesday, September 8, 2021, in Melbourne, Florida.
Born October 27, 1941, on a military base near Watsonville, California, Cliff lived most of his life in Florida, where he was educated and raised his large family alongside his lifelong partner and wife, Lois Laverne Byrd. Cliff saw himself as a cowboy because he spent most of his career in animal husbandry for dairy farms. He learned what was needed to serve farms specific to bovine medicine. After many years of practicing bovine artificial insemination, an assisted reproductive technology, he taught the technique to students from the University of Florida’s veterinary program. He later moved his family to the Port St. Lucie and Ft. Pierce area, where he served as manager of maintenance for a condominium complex in Jensen Beach.
Devoted to his faith, Cliff served as an elder in his church. One of his prouder moments was having an opportunity to live in the Republic of Georgia working as a missionary. He enjoyed traveling, making trips to Israel, including when he and Lois lived on a kibbutz, to Egypt to explore the pyramids, and to other countries in the Middle East. He was a passionate gardener, collecting seeds, growing native plants, and caring for honey bees. He believed that understanding where food comes from and knowing how, when, and where to grow it was an essential life skill. He loved the outdoors, especially the mountains, and camping. Cliff also spent considerable time learning about his family’s genealogy and sharing what he learned with his family.
He lived a full life as a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, brother, deacon and elder, and friend to many. He referred to his family as his tribe and loved nothing more than to spend time singing and sharing stories with his many grandchildren and great grandchildren. He also loved spending time with and listening to the journeys of others.
Son of the late Clifford Rodney Rodriguez Sr. and Jane Francis Beverly Bell, Cliff is survived by half brother David Larmon, several aunts, cousins, and his children: Jane Brown of Ocala, Florida; Clifford Rodriguez III of Daytona Beach, Florida; Naomi Hoffman (William) of Clifton Park, New York; Rebecca Hendershot of Fort Pierce, Florida; David Rodriguez (Carolina) of Oviedo, Florida; Joseph Rodriguez (Melinda) of Burnt Hills, New York; Barbara Parlier (Eric) of Sanford, Florida; and Lois Marie Rodriguez of Maitland, Florida. His ever-expanding tribe includes 26 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, his brother John Edward Rodriguez, and his son Daniel Matthew Rodriguez. He will be missed by many.
The Newcomer Funeral Home, 3806 Howell Branch Road, Winter Park, Florida, is making arrangements for a graveside funeral service to be held on Monday, September 20, 2021, at the Etoniah Cemetery, 309D Bardin Road, Palatka, Florida at 11 a.m. You are welcome to leave comments or share memories through one of the tabs provided above.
Clifford understood the importance of community service and helping those less fortunate. For this reason, we ask that donations be made in his memory to one of the following organizations: Meals on Wheels, 2801 S Financial Ct, Sanford, FL, 32773, or The Captain Community Human Services, 5 Municipal Plaza # 3, Clifton Park, NY, 12065.