Roderick “Rod” Wilson passed away on Sunday, February 7, 2021 at Ruby Medical Center in Morgantown, West Virginia. He died of natural causes; he was 87. A native West Virginian, Rod devoted his life to science and education. He completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics at West Virginia University, and worked for three years for the National Security Agency in Washington, DC. He served in the Army Reserve before returning to teach physics at WVU. He then moved to Montgomery, West Virginia to teach physics at West Virginia Institute of Technology, where he served on the faculty for almost 40 years. Rod is survived by a brother, a sister, and numerous nephews, nieces, cousins, and extended family.
Rod devoted much of his life to the National Youth Science Camp. He was hired as the camp’s photographer for the initial camp in 1963 when it was begun as a part of West Virginia’s Centennial Celebration. He continued as the camp photographer for several succeeding years, during which he was also a counselor, then the assistant director, and then as Executive Director of the National Youth Science Camp from 1976 to 1985. Rod was well known to hundreds of science camp participants, staff members, and science lecturers throughout those years. He also managed planning and administering the camp’s diverse program by working closely with educators throughout the US, university faculty members, scientists, and agency administrators in Washington, DC. People considered him to be a capable administrator devoted to his work with the camp.
In the only year that the Science Camp was not funded or operated, Rod worked with alumni and some of the Camp’s most devoted supporters to establish the National Youth Science Foundation as a mechanism to continue funding for future years. He was instrumental in helping assure the perpetuation of the National Youth Science Camp and other programs offered by the foundation to promote high quality education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Rod’s family will conduct a private service at a later date. Condolences can be shared with the McCulla Funeral Home in Morgantown at mcculla.com.
Rod’s family will conduct a private service at a later date. Condolences can be shared with the McCulla Funeral Home in Morgantown at mcculla.com.