BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Roderick (Rod) Hewitt, 81, of Bellows Falls, Vt., embraced his eternal home May 19, 2021. Rod was born in Torrington, Conn. during the Great Depression. From his first job scooping ice cream at the Torrington Creamery, to creating and running a small engineering firm for 30 years, Rod poured himself into building a different life and following his heart. Although he was a successful entrepreneur, carpenter, engineer, craftsman, poet, farmer, church leader, and veteran of the National Guard, he most cherished his title of man of faith, husband, dad, and grandpa.
During his lifetime, Rod pursued his dream of building a home in the nearby Green Mountain state. With his wife Marilyn, he purchased a 150-acre tract of land in the picturesque hills of Rockingham, Vt. Over the years, his Yankee ingenuity and talent for planning, designing, building, and farming transformed the land into Dayspring Farm. The challenges of a farming life perfectly matched his avid interest in solving problems. From the array of barns, buildings, cultivated gardens, and fenced fields to the modest chalet he shared with his wife, Dayspring Farm was a singular achievement. Over the years, the farm was an outlet for his many creative pursuits, which turned into side businesses selling Christmas trees, cattle, sheep, eggs, and honey. It also became a source of shared family memories. Rod took pleasure in showing the farm and its many hidden treasures to visitors, wearing his farmer’s overalls with his Australian shepherd dog at his heels. He invited people into his own deep connection with the land, his projects, and his livestock. No visit with Rod would end without a stop to toss some fish food to the trout in the pond.
Among Rod’s favorite things were taking his wife out to dinner, annual Thanksgiving weekends with family, jamming with friends playing the banjo or mandolin, the Boston Red Sox, UConn women’s basketball, fishing, boats, and old trucks. He was an avid reader and was especially drawn to true stories about inspiring missionaries, men of God, and adventurers. He spent countless hours in his shop handcrafting signs, bowls, furniture, and other unique treasures from many kinds of wood. His family and close friends knew that Rod’s creations were special, not only for their beauty and functionality, but because they were a one-of-a-kind expression of his creativity and love.
When asked once why he continued to stand by the losing sports team rather than going for a winner, he said, “I prefer to root for the underdog.” This became true beyond his support of an underperforming team. Over the years, Rod found many people in need to support and was ever ready to invest generously in helping family, friends, and even complete strangers.
Rod’s encounter with the love of Jesus Christ in his 40s deeply impacted the course of his life. Following Christ was a daily walk for Rod, and he enthusiastically initiated conversations about the new life that was possible through faith in Christ with anyone who would listen.
Rod took an unconventional medical path in his long struggle with cancer and outlived the prognosis of the disease by numerous years. A sense of humor, faith, optimism, and love of life marked those years. The quote he passed down from his mother to his own children was to “keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole.”
In his last winter season, he compiled a book of original poems, prose, and cartoons. A picture of his beloved Dayspring Farm is on the cover with the title “There is a Way that Leads to Life.”
Rod found that way and his life was a gift to many. He will be especially missed by his surviving spouse of 56 years, Marilyn Kalber Hewitt, his four children, their spouses, his seven grandchildren, and his extended family, church family, and friends.
A memorial service in celebration of Rod’s life will be held Saturday, May 29 at 2:30 p.m. at the United Church of Bellows Falls, 8 School Street, Bellows Falls, VT 05101. It will be followed by a reception at their residence at 5 Edgebrook Park, Bellows Falls, Vt. at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Our Place Drop-In Center or at www.ourplacevermont.org.