Transportation 18


E. Rodney "Rod" Hanks

February 22, 1936 ~ April 20, 2018 (age 82)

West Brookfield – E. Rodney “Rod” Hanks, 82, of West Brookfield passed away on Friday, April 20, 2018, after a long struggle with COPD.  He was the son of Eugene R. and Vera (Ambruster) Hanks.  He leaves his wife of 60 years, Gloria (Bradley) Hanks, three daughters, Chris Gancarz and her husband Norm of Dudley, Joanne Benoit and her husband Paul of Hardwick, and Sherry Hanks and her husband Richard Witaszek of Brimfield, as well as six grandchildren, James Gancarz and his wife Brittany, Samantha Benoit and her fiancé Eric Sechman, Ethan and Hannah Benoit, and Aubree and Elise Hanks-Witaszek.


He grew up in West Brookfield, and attended Worcester Boys Trade High School.  He worked as a young man as a manager at Rathbone Corporation in Palmer.  In 1973 he began his own business, Valley Products Co., Inc., building ambulance interiors and other wooden cabinetry continuing for 30 years.  He was a true craftsman. 


He volunteered for the West Brookfield police force as a young man, volunteered at the Hardwick Fair while a resident of Hardwick and belonged to the Antique Engine Society.


For many years he could always be found in the early morning joining his friends for breakfast at the Haymakers Grill.  He loved riding his BMW motorcycle, attending the motorcycle races in Laconia, flying radio controlled airplanes, camping, and Florida vacations.  His family was a priorty but he could always find time to help a neighbor. 


The family would like to thank Bay State Hospice for the excellent care given to Rod.


Calling hours for Rod will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2018 from 10AM to 12PM in the Varnum Funeral Home, Inc., 43 East Main St., West Brookfield.  Burial will be held privately at the convenience of the family.   In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Bay State Hospice, 50 Maple St., P.O. Box 9058, Springfield, MA 01102.


An online guest book is available at

Donations may be made to:

Baystate Visiting Nurse and Hospice Association
P.O. Box 9058, Springfield MA 01102

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