Born to Murrel and Hilma Haas of Oberlin, Kansas, Rodney and his older brother Larry spent their youth in Hollister, Calif.
Rod graduated in 1953 from San Benito County High School where he excelled as an athlete. He briefly attended San Jose State University before enlisting in the Air Force in 1955.
Rod married Verna Lee Winkle on January 1, 1956. He was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base and served out his enlistment in Panama City, Fla., where daughter Cheryl was born. Rod was a celebrated left guard for their football team. He was honorably discharged in 1959 and moved his family to Visalia where he began working as a parole officer.
While living in Visalia, daughter Carri was born and Rod developed a lifelong passion for Judo. He also attended College of the Sequoias where he earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice.
In 1962 Rod moved his family to Merced where he established the Merced Judo Club and commuted to Mt. Bullion Youth Conservation Camp for work as a parole agent. While living in Merced, son Cory was born.
In 1970 the Haas’ settled down in a one bedroom “cabin” on Triangle Road. In 1971, son Casey was born. Rod built a dream home for his family there, doing most of the work himself.
Rod was a fourth degree black belt in Judo who competed nationally and was at one time ranked number three in the world in his weight class. He was the Amateur Athletic Union national champion in 1971 at the age of 34. He shared his love for Judo with friends and coached well into his 60s.
Rod would eventually retire from the California Youth Authority in 1988, after serving as a supervisory consultant and peace officer. He was extremely proud of his 28- year career. Rod took great pride in watching his kids and grandkids compete in all manner of sports, which was undoubtedly his greatest passion.
Rod is survived by his four children, 10 grandchildren, and a great grandson. Memorial services will be at the Mariposa Funeral Home on Sept. 11, 2018 at 11 a.m.