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Frank C. Rodway

Frank C. Rodway Obituary
Frank C. Rodway, 91
PORTLAND - Frank C. Rodway, 91, passed away on Jan. 6, 2017. He was the son of Rev. and Mrs. Charles B. Rodway. Mr. Rodway was born in Beverly, Mass., but moved to Maine in the early 1930s when his father accepted the position as superintendent of the Portland Seamen's Friend Society, later known as the Seamen's Club on Fore Street.
Because of that early association with ships and sailors, Mr. Rodway had an active and varied interest in maritime activities. During the summer of 1940, he shipped out on the Oakley L. Alexander as an ordinary seaman when he was 15.
Mr. Rodway worked as a rivet passer on liberty ship construction in the summer of 1942 and volunteered for military service in the fall of that year.
During the war, Mr. Rodway served on two destroyer escorts, the troop transport Wakefield and other vessels operated by the Coast Guard. While assigned to the Wakefield, he participated in rescuing the Catholic bishop from China just prior to the communist takeover. He was discharged from the service in 1946 with the rating of Quartermaster Second Class after tours of duty in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. He was awarded all the theater medals, as well as a medal for the Philippine liberation.
A self-taught navigator, he passed the Coast Guard examination for an unlimited third mate's license in 1947. He served on several ocean tankers, alternating between seagoing and college. In 1948, he was commissioned an ensign in the Naval Reserve.
In 1950, he married the former Barbara Reed. She predeceased him in 1998. They had a daughter, Regina, who passed away in 2015.
Mr. Rodway graduated from Portland High School, Portland Junior College, and received BS and MBA degrees from Syracuse University in 1951.
After graduating from college, Mr. Rodway worked for a time with the American Mutual Insurance Company and the duPont Corporation in their executive training programs. In 1954, he returned to Portland and started his own real estate and insurance business. For a time, he chaired the Legislative and Taxation committee for the Board of Realtors.
Mr. Rodway was active in the Naval Reserve as an instructor and staff officer with the Naval Reserve Officer's School and was officer in charge of the support group for the destroyer Tills at the time she was activated. Earlier, he served as first lieutenant on the Tills during several reserve cruises, including a two-week training tour of duty at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He also served tours at the Pentagon, Penn State University and the Anti Submarine Warfare School in Key West.
During this period, Mr. Rodway was also teaching business and management courses at the University of Southern Maine.
He was a discussion leader in the Great Books Club, superintendent of the Woodfords Church Sunday School and, with his wife Barbara, a leader in the Junior High Fellowship. He was a member of the Portland Kiwanis Club, the Triangle Lodge of Masons and a trustee of the Portland Harbor Museum.
During the Cumberland County 200th Anniversary celebration, the Canadian vice counsel invited Mr. Rodway to be the naval liaison officer attending the visit of the Canadian destroyer, HMCS Victoriaville.
In 1963, at age 38, Mr. Rodway was appointed as the first non-flag rank superintendent of Maine Maritime Academy. It was a highly controversial and intensely publicized appointment as a consequence of three minority trustees who preferred the appointment of an admiral.
This culminated in the en masse resignation of the Board of Trustees protesting Governor Reed's political interference in the affairs of an academic institution and Mr. Rodway was removed early in 1964. He was later successful in his suit against the three minority trustees and was awarded damages.
Subsequently, Mr. Rodway attempted to gain a seat in the U.S. Congress, running unsuccessfully in the 1966 Republican primary.
Later he served on various merchant ships, as well as vessels of the Military Sealift Command. While with the Military Sealift Command, he participated in the largest and longest seaborne troop transfer of the war, Boston to Vietnam.
In 1969, while serving as a deck officer on the tanker Amoco Louisiana, discharging oil product in South Portland, an explosion occurred which killed one man and injured several others, including Mr. Rodway, as he and two other officers attempted to save the life of a trapped seaman. The Maritime Commission awarded him the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal, the highest honor awarded to merchant seamen by the U.S. government.
Mr. and Mrs. Rodway traveled extensively to a number of foreign countries, including several trips to the Far East. They also traveled twice across country in their motor home.
Mr. Rodway was active in restoring historic properties, including the Captain Nathaniel Dyer House and other buildings on York Street, the gateway to Portland. In 1970, he acquired the Thomas Brackett Reed House, the only privately owned National Historic Landmark in Maine. In a 1998 ceremony, Greater Portland Landmarks cited him for the stewardship of historic property.
He is survived by his sister, Claudia McGrath, of South Portland; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours will be held on Saturday, January 14, from 2-3 p.m., followed by a funeral service at 3 p.m. and a reception at 4 p.m.. All services will be held at
Hobbs Funeral Home,
230 Cottage Road, South Portland. Condolences and memories may be shared online at:

In lieu of flowers, please consider
a memorial donation
in Frank's name to:
Animal Refuge League
of Greater Portland
P.O. Box 336
Westbrook, ME 04092

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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Jan. 8, 2017
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