Alaska Mourns a Man of God

There are never enough words to describe what a loved one means to us once they are gone. We try to remember the good times and celebrate the life we shared together, but the honest truth is, we never truly heal. We learn to cope with our newfound circumstances, step-by-step and day-by-day, we begin to move on. But, we are never the same; we're forever impacted by the bond we once had.

On Jan. 6, 2022, Rod Rau lost his fight with cancer. Rod was an amazing man of God. He was a beloved husband, brother, teacher and co-worker to many.

During his career in education, Rod and his wife, Brenda, worked at Sierra View Jr. Academy and Echo Ridge in California. Later, he taught in the towns of Sitka, Anchorage and Dillingham, Alaska. During the last five years of his life, the Alaska Conference was privileged to have Rau serve as the education director, impacting the lives of teachers across the state.

Connecting students with God's wonderful creation was a primary goal for Rod over his 38 years in the classroom. He took students beyond the walls of the school and into the great outdoors, creating mystery, discovery and excitement in their learning journey. Rod was a master at motivating his students to want to learn it for themselves. Of course, as a teacher, he never bribed his students, but he had a special way of inspiring internal drive and motivation to learn. By getting their work done, students were rewarded with outside classroom time.

His love for the outdoors was shared with students not just through teaching, but actual experience. He had a passion for adventure which included, but was not limited to, kayaking, backpacking, camping and especially flying. While living in Dillingham, Rod and Brenda loved flying to the surrounding Bristol Bay area villages for church services. Rod played his guitar and helped make memorable worship times for small churches.

For Rod, building relationships with others was a top priority as a teacher, colleague and friend. His words of wisdom or a perfectly timed response gave him an influence few people are afforded. He will always be remembered as the quiet, strong man of faith. One who loved his wife, worked hard, connected well with his students and fought for his teachers. Rod truly was a man of God!

Featured in: March/April 2022


Tobin Dodge

Alaska Conference Arctic Mission Adventure, youth, young adults and radio director