Sunday, February 14, 2021

In Memoriam: William Joseph Rodway

William Joseph Rodway
July 13, 1951 ~ January 16, 2021 (age 69)

Lieutenant Colonel William Joseph Rodway

Lieutenant Colonel William (Bill) Joseph Rodway, a retired Delta Airlines Captain, retired New Mexico Air National Guard/USAF and resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico took his last solo flight to heaven on January 16, 2021.

He was born on July 13, 1951 to the late William and Edythe Rodway in White Plains, New York.  He is survived by the love of his life of 23 years and “co-pilot,” Lorena Zubia-Foust; her children, Matthew Foust, Heather Foust, April Gallagher and son-in-law, Tom Gallagher; two granddaughters, Lorelai Gallagher and London Gallagher; two brothers, Robert Rodway and David Rodway; and niece, Indira Rodway.

Bill graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 1973 with a degree in Science and Psychology and his weekends were fulfilled with flying lessons. While in college he saw a billboard that read “Fly for free, Join the Navy!” and quickly pursued that dream. For those of you who knew Bill, you know that the Navy had him at the word “free!” During his 8-year naval aviator career, he remarkably made over 300-night time carrier landings in an A-7 light attack jet. While stationed in Japan, his most memorable flights were off the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier, which is now a museum in San Diego, CA.

After leaving the Navy, Bill was hired by Delta Airlines as a commercial pilot in 1979. He flew the Boeing 737 and advanced rapidly as an airman check pilot. Bill retired as a Captain in 2005 and enjoyed his last years flying the Boeing 767. One of his favorite places to fly into was Jackson Hole, WY. Simultaneously, while working for Delta, Bill joined the New Mexico Air National Guard for the next 15 years and flew with the “Tacos.” He enjoyed the New Mexico blue skies and speed from the cockpit of the F-16 FALCON fighter jet. As if retiring from the USAF as a Lt. Colonel wasn’t enough, he pushed his capabilities for a little “extreme” adventure in aerobatic flying. We’re talking about pilots who like to be upside down, sideways and pulling G’s while perfecting precise routines in a 3-Dimensional “box” of airspace. Bill had the need for speed! Bill’s passion for flying was more than just a career and always quoted, “Find a career you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life!”

Bill knew how to have fun! As a member of the New Mexico Viper Club, driving at high speeds in his 2004 yellow Dodge Viper, he knew how to set an adrenaline rush on the long stretchy roads and winding mountains! There was always a good story to tell. One of the best stories was when 15 exotic cars were pulled over by two law enforcement officers in Montrose, CO, long story! Bill being a man of service and having the most upright respect for law enforcement, volunteered as a Bernalillo County Sheriff Reserve Deputy for 10 years. Within the first year, he received the “Outstanding Cadet” award and was President of the Reserves for a term during his service with BCSO.

Bill was an excellent family man and provider, listener, and workout partner (he was a member of Defined Fitness for years and won a couple of bodybuilding competitions). He was adventurous in many sport arenas, courageous, knowledgeable and most of all, lovable. He had the rare combination of someone who loved life and had a firm understanding of what was important - the simplicity of living life with those you love.

One of the best qualities that Bill had was mentoring people and helping them achieve their goals. He always made people feel as if they were the most important person in the room. He was an animated storyteller and had memorable and funny stories to share. Bill was always inclined to learn new things and mastered them quickly. He was extremely accomplished, yet humble.

Bill had a larger-than-life presence and personality. He loved spending quality time with his granddaughters and he always looked forward to picking them up from one of his 5-Star daycares. Their favorite places to go were the library and airport. He also loved spending time with his 4 Shih Tzu’s who adored him and listened to his every command.

This past year Bill and Lorena spent hours flying in their baby blue Cirrus SR22T aircraft throughout the Southwest. A recent accomplishment was flying into the North America’s highest airport in Leadville, CO at 9,934 feet. Bill loved making memorable moments for those who flew in his plane.

Bill was an all-American man. Words cannot describe how much Bill will be missed by his family and an abundant amount of loving friends! Even though his passing was unexpected, he will be fondly remembered for his leadership, tenacity, patience, and kind heart.

This coming March, Bill was going to start his volunteer efforts for the Barkhouse organization flying his Cirrus Vision Jet plane to escort dogs and finding good homes for them. The family asks in lieu of flowers, you make a donation to the “animal rescue freedom flight” in Bill’s honor at  or you can send a check to: Barkhouse.Org., 4670 Calle de Nubes, Las Cruces, NM 88012.

Bill’s Celebration of Life will be held privately.

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