APPA distributed Carmen’s Obituary and additional thoughts in an email to it’s membership:
It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of our friend and longtime Board Member, Carmen Maria Rodriguez (Melendez). After a heroic battle with cancer, Carmen passed away early Sunday, April 18, with her family by her side. We are thankful for the passion she carried in her heart for APPA. She served as a Board Member for over 20 years – serving 18 of those years as a member of the executive committee. Carmen’s Board involvement included positions such as President, President-Elect, Vice President, Regional Representative, and Committee Chair. We are forever grateful for her outstanding commitment, support, and energy. She will be greatly missed by the APPA family, colleagues, and the community corrections industry. During APPA’s 46th Annual Training Institute, the Member of the Year Award will be renamed the Carmen Rodriguez Member of the Year Award in her memory. Carmen was rock solid and the true epitome of a volunteer – giving of her time and talents to APPA for more than 30 years.
In January 2020, Carmen retired after serving 33 years as an employee of the Cook County Adult Probation Department in Chicago, IL. Carmen joined Cook County in 1987 as a probation officer, and in 1989 she became a Training Specialist. Her intense training prowess led her to starting a private training business in 2001 under the name of Rodriguez & Associates. Her training sessions on topics like “happiness” and “diversity” became some of the most enjoyable and well attended workshops at APPA’s training institutes.
Visitation for our beloved colleague and friend will be held on Wednesday, April 21, and Thursday, April 22, 2021 from 3:00-9:00 PM at Colonial-Wojciechowski Funeral Home, 8025 W. Golf Road in Niles, Illinois. The funeral will take place Friday, April 23 – prayers will begin at 10:00 AM at the funeral home, and the funeral mass will follow at St. Isaac Jogues Church at 11:00 AM. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the funeral service and interment will be private.
We will forever keep the fond memories of Carmen in our hearts and minds. She was so giving and steadfast in all of her connections both at home and away. We cherish her gift to APPA and we are reminded that what she did in between the dash (–) of her life to enrich the lives of others was important. How fortunate are we that our paths crossed with this special person who had such a warm, cheerful, and giving spirit.