For the family, co-workers, and friends of Renton resident, Kody Wiltse, the most frequently shared endearment has been, “he was the most selfless person I have known.”

Whether at family get togethers, visiting his granny, racing cars, riding dirt bikes and quads, or fishing and hunting with dad, he was always eager to lend a helping hand. When asked to describe Kody, his cousin, Amanda Stray, shared, “First, I would call him selfless, and then a kid who was funny, sweet, and kind.”  

In a life marked by daily gestures of caring and kindness, Kody was also known for his passion for cars and extraordinary mechanical talents and skills.

“He could fix anything and make it better,” shared his father, Keith, about Kody’s ability to work on cars and motorcycles.  

His mother Mia also shared that in addition to being mechanical, Kody was a great saver, and “handled money, far beyond his years.” He purchased his first car, a 1968 Dodge Power Wagon, at age 11 and a Plymouth Duster at age 14. “His abilities were uncanny, and awe-inspiring to those around him,” Mia shared.

Kody’s determination and enthusiasm carried over into his work life as a member of the Renton Highlands Discount Tire team.

Kody standing in front of his blue Dodge truck

Image caption: If it was vintage, Kody knew how to make it better and loved restoring this truck to it's former glory.

Co-worker and childhood friend, Brody Steffey, shared that he and Kody had enjoyed working on cars together growing up and shared many memories in his dad’s shop. “We had talked about working at Discount Tire together as kids and ended up being hired within a couple of weeks of each other,” Brody shared.

He continued to share, “People respected him. He raised the bar for everybody starting with high standards for himself. Being around Kody made you better because of his work ethic. I wanted to be like him.”

Store manager, Roux Willmott, and Kody’s supervisor for three years, also shared how Kody was a great teacher and coach to the other automotive technicians. “His goal everyday was to provide top service to customers, top quality, and safety,” Roux said, “He made everyone around him better and never let anyone go backwards in what they delivered. He was an amazing individual.”

 It was at the tire store that former Renton Technical College (RTC) tutor and computer network technology alumnus, Billy Ray, learned how beloved Kody was and about the motorcycle accident that had taken his life.

“After the tragedy, there was such an outpouring of love and respect from the community,” shared Billy, “This young man had touched so many lives that I thought there needed to be a way to honor his life. When I was a student at RTC, scholarships made all the difference to keep me in school. That’s when I reached out to his parents to see if they wanted to set up a scholarship to help students in the automotive program.”

After touring RTC’s automotive program and learning more about scholarships through the RTC Foundation, Mia and Keith embraced the idea of setting up a memorial scholarship in Kody’s name.

Though words cannot express the loss of Kody for family and friends, his parents see the scholarship as a life-affirming way to honor what he meant to the people who knew him. “Helping automotive students is part of Kody’s legacy to inspire future generations of car enthusiasts,” they shared, “And reminds us to pursue our dreams with unwavering dedication and selflessness.”

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the Kody Wiltse Memorial Scholarship at RTC, you can do so here through the secure online donation portal.