Lee Roddy, 95 long-time former Modesto and Turlock resident and author of 62 books, died February 2nd, 2017 at his retirement home in Grass Valley.
He is survived by Cicely, his wife of 69 years; a son, Steve Roddy and Katie of Lake Wildwood; daughter Susan(Peter Dodds) Roddy and two grandsons, Patrick O’Shaughnessy Roddy and Zachary de Haas, all of the San Francisco area.
Surviving siblings are brothers Jim Roddy and Jack Roddy and sisters Helen Schneider and Belle Roddy.
Born in an Illinois farmhouse on Aug. 22, 1921, Roddy moved with his parents to Oakdale, California in 1931 and graduated from local schools. His first short stories were published when he was 14. After a year at Modesto Junior College, he moved to Hollywood to begin his writing career.
Beginning as a page boy at NBC, He worked part time writing for advertising agencies and selling freelance radio dramas at NBC, CBS and ABC before earning a degree in radio broadcasting at Los Angeles City College in 1945.
In `1947, Roddy needed a more dependable source of income instead of freelancing. Radio Station KTRB of Modesto offered him a staff position writing ad copy. Roddy married his college sweetheart, started a family, and advanced to became KTRB’s sales manager for the next eight years.
During that time period, while still writing stories part time, he became general manager or sales manager at radio stations in Honolulu, Hawaii; Hollywood and Anaheim, California. In the 1960s, Roddy switched from broadcasting to become a journeyman newspaper reporter for the Turlock Journal and the Modesto Bee.
In 1977, he sold the first of 60-plus books, a biography of Robert E. Lee , (which is still in print) along with 40 other titles. More sales followed rapidly, eventually allowing the author to quit his “day job” and write 44 high adventure novels for middle grade readers, 10 historical suspense novels for adults, and several nonfiction titles, including “How to Write a Story.”
Roddy’s historical novel, “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams,” became a prime time television series. The author’s juvenile novel, “Secret of the Shark Pit” was a million copy seller and is still in print. Among his other credits are “The Lincoln Conspiracy,” (also a movie); “In Search of Historic Jesus,” and “Jesus,” a nonfiction book now also a movie in a thousand languages through Campus Crusade for Christ.
In total, Roddy wrote 44 novels in four series for middle grade readers, 10 historical suspense novels for adults, and several non-fiction tittles, including ”How to Write a Story.”
The author’s works in progress at his death include an adult and a juvenile historical novel.