Guest Blog By Annie Bennett
There are not many people who make you smile whenever you think of them, but Rod Younger was definitely one of them. His positive outlook, enthusiasm for whatever he was involved with, vast knowledge of Spanish history and culture and, of course, those twinkling eyes and naughty giggle just made him a joy to know and be around. What with one thing and another, he embodied the ebullience of Andalucía, where he had been living life to the full for more than a decade.
At his funeral in Marbella on Friday, so many friends wanted to pay their respects and say their goodbyes that there were people spilling out of the chapel and standing in the shade of the trees outside. While unbearably sad at times, there was laughter too at the service. Chris Chaplow, Campbell Ferguson and Rod’s sister Christine spoke movingly about his life, his achievements and what he had meant to them.
Campbell talked about the enormous effort Rod had put into setting up and developing the Books4Spain website. The site is much more than a place to buy books, as Rod was creating an important and influential forum for Spanish literature and culture, and the intention is to keep it going and make Rod’s vision a reality.
Christine told us all about their childhood; how her little brother Rod – or Roderick – as the family call him – was a very cute little boy and always had people cooing over him, while she and their sister Margaret barely got a look in. She told us how his curious streak was evident from an early age, and how fascinated he was by his first rides on London buses, wanting to know how everything worked.
This thirst for knowledge and zest for life stayed with him as he grew up. He became an expert on the history of Spain and had been researching the family tree. While he had great success throughout his career with various businesses, Books4Spain was the project that really brought all his passions and skills together.
Rod was an excellent communicator, making friends easily and effortlessly building up working relationships. He was tremendously generous when it came to sharing his time, skills, expertise and language knowledge. But most of all, he was just great fun to be with; someone who made everyone around him feel happier.
That is why we will all continue to smile whenever we think of him, whenever we need a bit of cheering up. Rod Younger – or Rodrigo Manso de Zúñiga Domènech, to give him his Spanish name – is not the kind of person who ceases to part of our lives just because he is not physically with us.