Rodney A. Tulonen ’69

Rodney A. Tulonen ’69 died on May 30, 2015, in Glencliff, New Hampshire.(The following appeared the Rutland Herald June 5, 2015):

Rodney Arthur Tulonen, 67 of Springfield, Vermont, formerly of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, died May 30, 2015, at Glencliff Home in New Hampshire after a courageous struggle with early onset Alzheimer’s for over ten years.

He leaves his wife of twenty-three years, Patricia Magrosky of Springfield, Vermont; a son, Gregory Tulonen, and his wife, Kate, of Auburn, Maine; two stepsons Matt and Nick Matush of Springfield, Vermont; two grandsons Connor and Riley Tulonen; his mother, Anna Tulonen of Fitchburg, Massachusetts; two sisters Joanne Tulonen of Seattle, Washington, and Elaine T. Pierce and her partner, Joel Slutsky, of Alstead, New Hampshire; a long-time friend Claude Caswell of Rochester, New Hampshire, and many nieces and nephews. Rodney Tulonen was born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, in 1947.

He was predeceased by his father, Reino K. Tulonen, and his sister, Betty I. Tulonen.

Rod will be remembered as a champion in every possible way:

He was an athlete winning a state championship in cross-country and track at Fitchburg High School and a record-setting runner in the two mile at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he was captain of the Bowdoin cross-country team.

He was a scholar. Rod was valedictorian of his graduating class at Fitchburg High in 1965, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English with honors from Bowdoin College; a Master’s Degree in Secondary School Administration at Antioch College and a Master’s Degree in Internet Strategy Management from Marlboro College.

Most of all, Rod was a man who championed others, particularly the disadvantaged and vulnerable. As principal of Riverside Middle School, in Springfield, Vermont, Rod was fair to every child, but he was particularly protective of the children who needed extra attention. He was the kind of man who trained kids for the Special Olympics, stood up to abusive parents and bullies, fought fiercely for his students and teachers and made every school he worked in a safe, positive place where everyone could thrive. He was the kind of man who went the extra mile for anyone who needed his guidance and his strength. Rod’s family, friends and colleagues called him The Principal of the World because he exuded strength, courage and honesty.

He jousted with the world with mischievous bravado, was a photographer with a keen eye for detail, and a poet whose words touched the heart. He was the twinkle in the eye of fate, the light in every room he occupied. There was no joke too silly for him to tell, no prank too childish to pull out of his hat. He was the man who refused to be dull and predictable. He was the handsome hero who could laugh at himself most of all and so made everyone around him more free and joyful, especially children – and those who loved him.

As a husband to his cherished Pat, father to Greg, stepfather to Matt and Nick, grandfather to Connor and Riley, son to Anna and Reino, brother to Joanne, Betty, Elaine and Claude; colleague and friend to all fortunate enough to share life with him, Rod was a man who brought love and laughter into every day. He was witty and playful, with a flair for the dramatic and unexpected. He was both eloquent and unpretentious, both pragmatic and idealistic. He was our Don Quixote, our brave and gentle warrior, forever young. No one loved life more than Rod and no one was more willing to share that joy. The world will never see another Rod Tulonen.