Robert V. Rood, champion powerlifter

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Robert Rood

Robert V. Rood, a retired longshoreman and world champion powerlifter, died Tuesday of heart failure at his Pasadena home. He was 73.

Robert Vincent Rood was born in Berwick, Pa., and moved with his family to a home on East Hill Street in South Baltimore in the 1940s. He attended Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School.


He served in the Navy as a ship's carpenter from 1957 to 1964, aboard aircraft carriers USS Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Atlantic and USS Kitty Hawk in the Pacific.

"He visited every port in the world," said a brother, David Rood of McGaheysville, Va.


Mr. Rood returned to Baltimore and worked for 44 years at the port of Baltimore as a longshoreman until retiring in 2004.

Mr. Rood was in his 30s when he took up powerlifting in the late 1970s, family members said.

Known as the "Pasadena Powerlifter," Mr. Rood began setting records in 1990 at age 50, when, at the National Drug Free Masters championship in Allentown, Pa., he did a 628-pound squat lift that set a national and an American Masters record.

At the meet, he also performed a 391 bench and a 600 dead lift and "wound up with a 1620 total at 220-pound body weight to qualify for the World Team," reported The Baltimore Sun at the time.

In 1992, Mr. Rood won the U.S. Powerlifting Federation National Masters Championship for those in the 50-54 age group, 220-pound weight class, in a meet that was held in Raleigh, N.C.

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At the event, The Sun reported the "ageless powerlifter's" total weight lifted was 1,610 pounds: 623 in the squat, 386 bench and 600 dead lift, which qualified him for the World Team that held its meet that fall in Sydney, Australia.

Mr. Rood was again champion in 1993 when he won the over-50 United States National Powerlifting Competition in the 220-pound division that qualified him for the World Masters Team in Ontario, Canada.

"He was still competing in the World Masters Powerlifting meet and even though he was suffering from a severe case of pneumonia, competed at the May event that was held in Orlando," said his wife of 19 years, the former Sharon Miller.


"Powerlifting was his whole life, but he did like playing the $5 slots at Casino Live," his wife said.

At Mr. Rood's request, there will be no funeral. Plans for a memorial service to be held in January are incomplete.

In addition to his wife and brother, Mr. Rood is survived by two sons, Vincent Rood of Pasadena and Robb Rood of Anchorage, Alaska; two other brothers, William Cowsill of Severn and James Cowsill of Baltimore; and three sisters, Patricia White and Barbara Bell, both of the Villages, Fla., and Janice Walton of Lady Lakes, Fla. An earlier marriage to Sandy Nelson ended in divorce.