Deacon Rudolph Preston Small, was born to the union of Neal Small Sr. and Tempy Brent Edwards at Alexandria, Louisiana, on December 13, 1931. His maternal grandparents were Joseph and Eliza (Wilton) Edwards; His paternal grandparents were Coot and Mary Small. All eight of his siblings predeceased him in death.
He was born and baptized into the Wilton Methodist Church, which was founded by his great grandmother, Myra Brent Wilton. He attended South Alexandria Elementary School and St. James Catholic High School. He volunteered and joined the U. S. Air Force on August 18, 1947. After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio Texas, he was granted an interservice transfer to the U.S. Army. He had a rewarding and successful military career, which included combat tours in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, among numerous overseas assignments. On May 1, 1975, after nearly 28 years, he retired honorably as a Sergeant Major, the highest rank for an enlisted soldier.
It was during his military career that he met and married his beloved wife, Ida May Sykes on April 24, 1959. She remained by his side through various military assignments both state side and overseas. It was during one of their two tours to Germany that they added to their union their precious daughter, Elizabeth Rochelle (Small) Dunn, born on July 8, 1965. After completing his tour of duty in Vietnam in July 1969, he was assigned as an advisor to the Ohio National Guard, in Brookpark, Ohio. Based on his success, he was again requested to return for a second tour of duty in Germany. In 1975, after completing his assignment in Germany, he retired from the U.S. Army after almost three decades of military service. Rudolph and his family returned to Ohio making their home in Olmsted Twp. and joined Second Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. After retiring from the U.S. Army, he was employed by the U.S. Postal Service where after 17 ½ years he retired as a supervisor. After 55 years of marriage, Ida succumbed to cancer and went home to be with the Lord on August 10, 2014.
Throughout his life, Rudolph maintained a close, loving relationship with his daughters, Rochelle and Tempy (born to the union of Rudolph and his first wife, Joesapaha Marie Martin in 1953). In addition to his immediate family, Rudolph maintained a close relationship with his church family, where he served as a Deacon and Sunday School Teacher. It was through his church family that he was blessed to be introduced to the lovely and godly, Velnora Wiggins. Rudolph and Velnora were married on June 4, 2016 and lived happily together until his demise.
He leaves to rejoice his transition into Glory his wife, Velnora;, two daughters Rochelle (Matt) and Tempy (Robert-deceased); Two Step sons Kenneth and Eugene; Four Step daughters: Theresa (Darrell), Alethea (Patrick), Angela (Thomas) and Bernetta (Keith). Eight grandchildren Andrew (Rochelle), Treslyn, Robert, Nia, Robin, Steven, Tracey and Stacey (Tempy). Fifteen great grand children Tania (Treslyn), Terrance, Isiah (Robert), Tatyana, Trinady, Hasan ,Tamirah, Rashan, Quahan (Robin) Abrielle (Stacey), Julius, Jerimiah, Nakya (Tracey) and a host of Nieces, Nephews and First Cousins.
Family and friends are welcome on Monday, June 12, 2023, from 5:30 p.m. until time of Services at 6:00 p.m., at Second Calvary Missionary Baptist Church 12017 Emery Ave. Cleveland, OH 44111. Graveside Services will be held Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at 10:15 a.m., at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery 10175 Rawiga Rd. Seville, OH 44273. (Please meet at gates by 10:00 a.m.)