Rodney Keith Eddins was born on February 27, 1959, to Ripley and Amelia Eddins. He loved his family. Early in life, he had one daughter, Kanisha. When he married his wife, Leveria Denise, on July 18, 2009, he accepted two stepchildren, Ashley and Brian, as his own. He became the proud grandfather to Sara Audrey. He called her his motor, and she called him “Honey.” His joyful activities with Sara included helping her with school projects and joining her at school for lunch on his days off.
Rodney was a loving husband and father and a wonderful mentor to underprivileged children. He also demonstrated his generosity by sponsoring a child each year for a summer trip. Rodney never met a stranger, and he would talk to everyone. Our son, Brian, would say, “Mr. Rodney knows everybody in the city. When he stops and talks for an hour, he says to me, ‘They sho was long-winded.’” My husband always had a word from the Bible. His favorite person in the Bible was Paul, and when he began to recite a scripture spoken by Paul, you knew you had done something he wasn’t pleased with. His favorite song line was “Walk a straight line” from Johnny Cash. I know that morning when Jesus called him home, he walked a straight line into heaven’s doors. He was an angel here on earth, and he is a heavenly angel watching over us now. He knows how much I love him, and I carry him in my heart every day.
Rodney received his calling to be a fireman at a very young age. When he was four years old, his teacher asked what he wanted to do when he grew up, and he told her, “I want to be a fireman.” Rodney went through school and played defensive end on the football team at Mitchell High School in Memphis. In his senior year his team won the state championship. After graduation, Rodney attended Fisk University, but soon returned home and joined the Air Force. After six years of service, he returned home and continued living out his dream as a fireman with the City of Memphis Fire Department, where he joyfully and faithfully served for 30 years. He died doing what he had been called to do and had always loved doing. We call him a firefighter, a man who fights fires on behalf of others. I trust that God has called him a faithful servant, a man of God who has completed his earthly mission. Lt. Rodney Keith Eddins died with honor as a hero to the City of Memphis, and his legacy will live on with all those who encountered him.