Robert J. Rodgers

Keizer – A man with a generous heart, Bob spent much of his childhood in California, attending Los Molinas and Corning high schools, where he excelled in many sports, lettering in four, including football and track. Bob graduated from Corning Union High School in 1949. After winning the 880-yard event at a state track meet, he earned a collegiate athletic scholarship, but instead chose to enlist in the Air Force. He met his wife, Joanne Lorraine Furan at a Sons of Norway dance in Everett, Washington and they were married on August 4, 1951. The love of his life, she preceded him in death. Bob could frequently be found visiting her graveside in the following years. 

Born Wallace Junior Rodgers, to Mabel Reeves and Arthur Rodgers in Nevada, Missouri, his older sisters, Juanita and Maxine, called him Bobby from birth, so as an adult he legally changed his name to Robert. Bob grew up during the Great Depression working a variety of jobs, primarily in agriculture, from planting crops, setting irrigation, to harvesting including wheat, walnuts, peas, prunes, potatoes and watermelon. Always a hard worker he also delivered newpapers, drove an ice cream truck and set pins in a bowling alley. Bob continued working extra jobs throughout his life to help put his three daughters through college. A familiar refrain for his daughters and granddaughters was “write home if you find work”.

 A 20-year veteran of the US Air Force, Bob had many assignments and resided in Tacoma, Portland, Charleston, South Carolina, St. John’s, Newfoundland, and finally Salem, Oregon while raising three daughters. After completing a tour of duty in Bien Hoa, Vietnam in 1967-68, he served the rest of his Air Force career based in Salem and was responsible for recruiting in the Northwest states, rising to the rank of E-8 Senior Master Sergeant while earning many awards along the way. His second 20-plus year career in management for the Oregon Department of Revenue. Bob was well-respected and recognized for his leadership. He was a past president and finance chairman of Faith Lutheran Church in Keizer and recently attended Our Savior’s Lutheran Church with his daughter, Linda.

Bob and Joanne loved to travel and visited family in Washington, Idaho and Oregon and also had the opportunity to visit Hawaii, Norway, Denmark and Germany. Bob especially cherished time spent with family, and was an exceptional caregiver for Joanne. He relished visiting with neighbors on his daily walks. He spent many hours in his backyard garden watching the house sparrow families dart in and out of the birdhouse and monitoring the progress of the dahlias. He loved to read and followed book recommendations from his daughters and granddaughters, which he enjoyed discussing. He loved to sing, and sang Beautiful, Beautiful Brown Eyes, while walking each new baby in the extended family changing the eye color to fit each child.

He had a devoted relationship with every member of his family and they share many cherished family memories. Bob was much appreciated as a friend, neighbor, co-worker, and loved as a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be deeply missed. 

Bob is survived by daughters, Susan McDowell and son-in-law Rod McDowell, Forest Grove, Jan Rodgers, Tigard and Linda Rodgers, Salem; sister-in-law, Sharon Gresli and her husband Tom, Camano Island, WA; granddaughters, Kari (Alex) Hazelton, Duxbury, MA, Jessica (Isaac) Price, Beaverton, Kelsey (Matt) Crowell, Forest Grove, Kayleen (Darren) Strong, Boise, ID, Alisa Rodgers-Taylor, Seattle and Joanna Rodgers- Taylor, Seattle, WA; great-grandchildren, Harper and Siri Crowell, Quinn, Waverly and Irely Hazelton, Sage and Owen Strong, and Gemma and Gavin Price. 

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Smile Train.

Arrangements by Restlawn Funeral Home