Arturo "Art" Del Angel Rodriguez
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Arturo (Art) Del Angel Rodriguez, formerly of La Feria, TX, Greenville and Raleigh, NC, passed away peacefully on January 22, 2021 at Integris Baptist Hospital, Edmond, OK after a long period of declining health due to Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), and complications from COVID-19. Art was born in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico, the son of Timoteo Gonzalez Rodriguez and Victoria Del Angel. His family immigrated to Harlingen, TX in 1968 following the passing of his beloved mother, Victoria. Art and his siblings were raised in South Texas with their paternal grandparents, Jose Aspericueta Rodriguez and Valentina Carizales Gonzalez. Art graduated from La Feria High School in 1978 where he was actively involved in high school athletics participating in track, basketball and football. He led the 1977 Lions to win the bi-district championship as team quarterback. Art attended Sul Ross State University on a football athletic scholarship where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 1982. In 1982, Coach Joe George awarded Art a football letter as cornerback on the Lobo team with a 9-1 record in the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Art continued his academic achievements by earning a PhD in experimental Physical Chemistry under the direction of his mentor, Dr. Martin Schwartz, at the University of North Texas in 1987. In 1987, after completing his graduate studies, Art joined East Carolina University (ECU) Department of Chemistry, Greenville, NC, as the youngest Assistant Professor in the department at the time. Art's research was at the forefront and he received one of the earliest National Science Foundation grants for research within the department. Over his 30-year tenure at ECU, in addition to his teaching and research activities, his university and departmental appointments covered a gamut of responsibilities from inaugural faculty advisor for the chemistry club to serving at the university level on the Faculty Grievance Committee. Critically, he stepped up as Interim Chair of the Department following the unexpected illness and death of then Chair Chia-yu Li and led the department for two years while they searched for a permanent replacement. Art published over 30 articles, presented more than 50 presentations/posters and mentored more than 21 undergraduate and 13 graduate students. Art's accomplishments and national and international reputation were recognized with his promotion to Associate Professor in 1993 and Professor in 2006. Art finished his career at ECU in 2018 after 30 years of dedicated service.
In Art's personal time, he enjoyed working with children. He was actively involved in all of his daughter's (River) activities including scouting, T-ball, baseball, swimming, soccer, tennis and cross country running. He loved fishing and was an avid sports enthusiast, a life-long supporter of the Dallas Cowboys and a passionate devotee of the East Carolina University Pirates! ARGGHH! His love for ECU was passed along to River, where she is a Fine Arts major with concentrations in ceramics and metals.
Art leaves behind his wife of 33 years, Vonda of Raleigh, NC and Edmond, OK and his daughter, River Rodriguez of Greenville, NC. Art also leaves his sister, Rosa Maria Del Angel Rodriguez of Brownsville, TX; his brother Enrique Del Angel Rodriguez and wife Guadalupe (Lupita) of Harlingen, TX; and his brother, Valentin Del Angel Rodriguez and wife Marisela (Mari) of El Paso, TX. He also leaves behind Ana Acalco, her husband Arturo Sachez and son, Mateo all of Knightdale, NC whom he and Vonda consider their daughter, son-in-law and grandson. Art was close to and loved by all of Vonda's family especially: Carroll David Jones, Jr, wife, Tonna and son Kolbee of Hubert, OK; and Jerry Ray Jones and wife, Mary of Oklahoma City, OK. Art leaves behind a number of nieces and nephews including: Alex Rodriguez, wife, Norma Quiroz, and sons, Ethan, Ashton and Christian all of Houston, TX; Victoria Rodriguez of Harlingen, TX; Jennifer Jones and children, Jensyn, Jadon, Jarrett, all of Hubert, OK; Amber Jones Walker, husband, Jay and children, Jace and Ashtyn all of Fort Gibson, OK; Jonathan Jones, wife, Nina and children Dakota, Jozlen and Carter all of Fort Gibson, OK; Jeremy Jones, wife, Kayla and daughters, Gemma Rose, Mary Agnus and Lucy Cecilia all of Indianapolis, IN; and Christy Peebles, husband, Joel and daughter, Noelle all of Edmond, OK. Additional close family include: Susan and Jay Kepley and children Taylor and Claire all of Richmond, VA; William (Bill) Coco and son, Ryan both of Greenville, NC and son, Matthew of Raleigh, NC; William Christopher (Chris) Kidd, wife, Mary Lynn and daughters, Mary Francis and Sydney James all of Raleigh, NC; James Speight and Angela Aldridge of Greenville, NC; and Naomi Gonzalez Garrow of Salt Lake City, UT. Art was predeceased by his grandparents, Jose and Valentina Rodriguez; his father; Timoteo Rodriguez; his mother, Victoria Rodriguez; niece, Ashley Kaye Jones; parents-in-law, James and Lizzie Jones, Carroll and Wanda Jones, Sr. and close family members: Charles and Ann McCray and Beth Ann (Brooke) McCray.
Art was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher and mentor. He always placed his family first, loved the beach, a shot of good tequila, and being with friends. The few lines written here can never sum up who Art was and how much he is, and will always be, loved. He will be missed deeply and never forgotten.
In lieu of flowers the family has identified two non-profit organizations close to Art.
Please consider contribution to an endowed fund at East Carolina University by sending a check payable to ECU Foundation, Inc. Please add "in memory of Art Rodriguez" on the memo line and mail to the Office of Gift Records, East Carolina University, 2200 S. Charles Blvd., Suite 2213, Greenville, NC 27858.
Contributions in memory of Art Rodriguez may also be made to the Brain Support Network, PO Box 7264, Menlo Park, CA 94026, www.brainsupportnetwork.org.
Due to the COVID pandemic, there will be no calling hours and intimate family only services. Art will be interred in Rose Hill Burial Park, Oklahoma City, OK following service in OK. After the pandemic the family will host a celebration of Art's life, where we remember him happy and healthy. The date will be announced at a later time.
For memorial guestbook, please visit www.smithandkernke.com