Nov 10th 1938 - Aug 8th 2012
Rod Katter was a man who wore many hats – detective squad leader, church elder, grain farmer, antique tractor restorer, and explosives technician to name just a few. The names that were most important to him, however, were those of husband, father, and grandfather. Rod dedicated his life to providing for his beloved family, and he was never happier, or prouder, than when surrounded by his family.
Rodric was born on November 10, 1938, to proud parents Warren C. and Virginia L. (Henke) Katter. Rod and his siblings – Randy, Myrna, Rodger and Darlene – grew up on the family farm just outside of Stendal, Indiana. As a young boy, Rod was baptized and confirmed at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.
Love came early in life to Rod. He fell in love with his best friend’s sister, Hazel, and started writing her love letters as early as junior high. Rod and Hazel were old friends – and Hazel recalls first meeting him at the age of five. Hazel wasn’t sure about him, however, and didn’t agree to go on a date until her senior year in high school!
After Rod graduated from Stendal High School in 1956, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, Subic Bay in the Philippines, and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He served his country honorably during the Vietnam War and returned home safely in 1962.
While on military leave, Rod and Hazel were married on April 11, 1959, at the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, beginning a marriage that would last for 53 wonderful years. In the years to come, Rod and Hazel were blessed with two beautiful daughters, whom they named Shana and Rena.
On September 1, 1960, Rod accepted a position with the Indiana State Police. For the first year, he worked from the Seymour post, and later, relocated to Morgan County in 1961. For the next thirty years, Rod worked as a dedicated employee of the State Police. He worked in a number of capacities, including explosives technician, scuba diver, arson investigator, motor carrier inspector, and, most recently, detective squad leader. He retired on October 3, 1991, as Sergeant.
In addition to his work with the police force, Rod was also a lifelong grain and livestock farmer and co-owners of Sycamore Valley Farms with his daughter, Rena, and son-in-law, Don. Rena remembers bringing home a pig as a birthday gift at an early age that was kept in the bathtub until Rod was able to build a pig pen; that being the beginning of his livestock adventure. He was passionate about farming and he especially loved Ford tractors, as well as, restoring them.
In his free time, Rod loved to dance. His favorite partner was Hazel’s mother – they enjoyed doing the “bump.” Rod would dance all night long if given the opportunity. Hazel remembers that her mother was always partial to Rod; in fact, she suspected that she enjoyed Rod’s company more than her own! Rod also liked traveling to Antique Machinery shows with family and friends or sight-seeing, especially when driving in his Ford trucks. Most everyone could spot him within miles driving the “BRT” or “Super Truck”.
Civic-minded and outgoing, Rod was very active in the community. Some of his clubs and committees included the Fraternal Order of Police, the State Police Alliance, the Indiana State Troopers Association, Morgan County 4-H Leaders, Pike County 4-H, the F.F.A. Honorary Chapter Farmer Association, and the Morgan & Owen Counties Antique Machinery Associations. Rod was also deeply committed to his faith and was a charter member of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church of Martinsville. Over the years, Rod served his church community as Elder, Trustee, President, Treasurer, and Vice-President of the board. He was very proud of the current church and school buildings, in the construction of which he had played a key role. Between his job with the police and his work on the farm, Rod also managed to find time to volunteer at the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, the Paragon Fire Department, and the Fall Foliage Festival Farmer’s Day.
After Rod retired from the State Police in 1991, he had more time to devote to his hobbies and the farm. His greatest joy, however, was his grandchildren, in whom he took great pride. They called their grandfather “Boppy,” a nickname which was soon used by everyone in the family.
Hard-working, committed, and compassionate, Rod was a devoted husband, a proud father and grandfather, a faithful Christian, and a true friend. He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by his many friends and family members.
Rodric H. Katter passed from this life on August 8, 2012, at the age of 73, surrounded by the love and comfort of his family. Rod is survived by a host of loving family and friends, including his wife, Hazel Katter of Martinsville; his daughters, Shana (Rusty) Hunt of Paragon and Rena (Don) Sheldon of Martinsville; his brother, Randy (Carolyn) Katter of Washington, IN; his sister, Myrna Katter of Mooresville; and his grandchildren, Joy & Ben Sheldon and Josh & Jessica Hunt. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Rodger Katter; and his sister, Darlene Greenwalt.
Family and friends are invited to visit on Friday, August 10, from 4-8 p.m. at Neal & Summers Funeral and Cremation Center, and from 9-10 a.m. at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Saturday, August 11. Rev. Nathan Janssen will conduct a Celebration of Life Service beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the church, and burial with military honors will follow at 3 p.m. in St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Cemetery in Stendal, Indiana. Memorial contributions may be made to the Lutheran Hour Ministries, c/o Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 3496 E. Morgan Street, Martinsville, IN 46151. Please visit Rod’s personal memory page at www.nealandsummers.com, where you can learn more about his life, share a favorite memory or photo, and sign the online guestbook.