Retired Col. Pamela (Luthye) Rodriguez, 64, was born July 28, 1954, in Topeka, Kansas. She passed away suddenly after a brief illness Friday, March 1, in Phoenix, Arizona. She was the daughter of Dale and Elma (Dryden) Luthye. She graduated from Topeka High School in 1972 and from the University of Kansas. She married 1st Sgt. Victor Rodriguez March 23, 1991, in Phoenix.
Rodriguez had an illustrious career in the military, for which her family was very proud. She was the first female aviator and the first female commander in the Kansas Army National Guard, the first women in Kansas to fly the Huey helicopter, the second woman to fly the Skycrane Helicopter in the U.S. Army and, later, flew Black Hawk helicopters. She was the first and only female commander of the Arizona Western Army Aviation Training Site. She is honored in the women’s display at the Kansas National Guard Museum and also has an aircraft hangar named in her honor in Arizona. Rodriguez was one of 17 military women from all branches of the service in the United States featured in the book “Living Legends and Living Our Story.”
After 27 years in the military she retired. Pam and Victor returned to Kansas in 2012 where she worked for the State of Kansas in the Office of Veteran’s Affairs. Following her second retirement in 2017, they returned to Arizona to make their home in Payson.
Her husband Victor survives of the home. She is also survived by her mother, Elma, and her sisters Vicki Lee (Greg) and Sandra Summers (Steve) in Topeka, her brother Stephen Luthye (Melinda) of Shawnee, and numerous nieces and nephews. She is also survived by step-daughters Diane (Oscar) Sandoval, Sylvia (Gilbert) Rodriguez, Barbara (Daniel) Segovia, and her step-sons Victor Jr (Debbie), and Robert, 14 step grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her father, Dale, sister-in-law Diane Luthye, and step-son Richard Rodriguez.
Memorial services with Military honors will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 16, 2019, at Parker-Price Cremations, Funerals & Receptions, 245 NW Independence, Topeka. Visitation one hour prior.
Memorial contributions may be made to Doorstep, 1119 SW 10th, Topeka, KS. 66604.
To leave a message for Pam’s family, visit www.ParkerPriceFH.com