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Renee A. Rodriguez Sr., overcame disability; April 17, 1951 -- Dec. 18, 2011

Renee Antonio Rodriguez Sr., of Buffalo, a tradesman who overcame disability, died Dec. 18 in Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was 60.

Born in Patillas, Puerto Rico, he came to Buffalo with his family as a child and was a graduate of Emerson Vocational High School. He served in the Army in Korea in the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions, attaining the rank of sergeant first class.

Returning from service, he worked at a variety of factory and construction jobs and was a skilled carpenter and plumber.

Mr. Rodriguez broke his neck in a fall from a ladder while working in 1993 and was almost completely paralyzed, unable to walk and with only limited use of his arms. Nevertheless, he never complained about his condition, his daughter Jennepheris said.

A resident of Rochester for 15 years before returning to Buffalo last year, he gave encouragement to others with disabilities at the Multiple Sclerosis Center in Rochester and developed a talent for painting.

Prior to his accident, he was an active parishioner at St. Ann Catholic Church and enjoyed fishing with his sons and brothers, cooking, dancing and football.

Stern and plain-spoken, he raised four children as a single father. He was reunited with a fifth child, a son, last year.

Surviving are three sons, Renee A. Jr., Ricardo M. and Rene; two daughters, Christine Rodriguez-Ashford and Jennepheris; his mother, Juana; four brothers, Jose, twins William and Billy, and Edwin; and four sisters, Carmen Faccio-Graham, Luz D., Emma Cardona and Alicia Vazquez.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Ann Church, Broadway and Emslie Street.