Roderick “Rod” William Overfield, 87, died on Aug. 8, 2014, at the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Sally and Danny Bell, in Hamilton, Mont.
Rod was born on Jan. 12, 1927, in Jerome, Idaho. He was the fifth and last child of Charles and Cordelia Bailey Overfield.
Rod grew up on the family farm in Jerome. When he had barely turned 12 years old his beloved mother died. Rod and his father farmed their land together until Rod graduated from high school a year early in 1944. Then he moved to Pasadena, Calif., to stay with his sister Fae and attend college.
Upon turning 18 in 1945, Rod joined the Army Air Corps and was eventually stationed in Alaska. In 1947, after earning an honorable discharge from the service, Rod moved to northern Idaho and attended the University of Idaho in Moscow. In the spring of 1950, he decided to move back to the Jerome area and rent an 80-acre farm.
Rod met Phyllis Claar, who was also from Jerome, and he and Phyllis married in May 1951. They eventually became the parents of three daughters (Susan, Sally and Dallas) and bought their own farm in Hazelton, Idaho. When Rod, who had the mind of an engineer, the eyes of an artist and the hands of a craftsman, designed and built a shop for himself, he decided that he loved building more than farming. So they sold the farm in 1963 and moved to Twin Falls, where Rod began his career as a building contractor. Two years later the family moved north to Hailey, where Rod built commercial buildings and many beautiful homes for celebrities and others in the Sun Valley and Elkhorn areas.
By early 1972, Rod and Phyllis had divorced. After that, Rod continued to live and work in the Sun Valley and Hailey areas until he retired, then moved to Hamilton to live near his daughter, Sally, in 1994.
Now Rod had more time to devote to his hobby of collecting and restoring classic convertible automobiles. Rod also took up a new hobby of building detailed models of trains, antique cars, planes and other vehicles from photographs. His models were accurate depictions meticulously crafted down to the last detail. Rod won several first place and champion ribbons at the Ravalli County Fair for many years in a row. In 2009, his model of the Union Pacific “Big Boy” train earned him both a blue ribbon and a certificate of congratulations from Union Pacific itself. His last completed model, the Mars Curiosity Rover, was entered in the 2013 fair when Rod was 86 years old.
Rod was known to all as a gentle soul with a brilliant mind and a clever, dry sense of humor. He was a talented designer and craftsman, a hard-worker who always kept himself busy, a wonderful, generous and kind father and grandfather.
Rod was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Cordelia; his brother Dick; and his sister Laura Avery.
Rod is survived by his sisters Esther Culverwell of Georgia and Fae Bartold of California; daughters Susan Maw (Steve) of Kalispell, Sally Bell (Daniel) of Hamilton, and Dallas Traeger (William) of Kalispell; his eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren, with another on the way.
Rod had requested that his body be cremated upon his death.
Those who wish may give a contribution to a favorite dog charity, such as Canine Partners for Life or the Cesar Millan Foundation, in Rod’s name. A family memorial will be scheduled for later this year.