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Joy Syrles Rodgers

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NEWPORT NEWS - Joy Rodgers passed away peacefully in her sleep Saturday night March 22, 2014 at the Chesapeake House. She was born Joy Syrles Smith in Faison NC April 26, 1928 to Philip Joseph Smith and Maud Jones Heath (Smith). As a child of the Great Depression she valued thrifty living and basic values including strong ties with her family and friends. Joy moved from the farm life at the Fearrington House in Duplin County NC to Hampton VA at a young age and thrived with school, social activities and playing the piano. Shortly after WWII she met and married Philip Lee Rodgers and remained devoted to him and their family forever after. Joy was always described as a "sweet lady" by those who met and knew her. Joy and Phil raised Marilyn, "Flip" and Terry who were always the pride and focus of their lives. Joy always wanted to be at home with her children but reluctantly went to work when it became necessary. She was employed by NASA and worked for Col. Don Eisele of Apollo 7 and later as administrative assistant for Director Eugene Love. She enthusiastically pursued her interests by playing tennis regularly at the Warwick Yacht Club, shopping for antiques, getting together with her bridge group, doing water aerobics, volunteering for Meals on Wheels and cheering for the Baltimore Orioles. However, the role she relished most was that of "Mama Joy." Mama Joy loved to cook big meals for her large family including roast beef dinners, potato salad and ham biscuits. Her message to her children was often, "If you can't do what you like, then like what you do!" Mama Joy is survived by her loving children Marilyn Rostron, Philip Jr. and Terry Rodgers and adored grandchildren Jessica, Parker and Sam as well as her son in law Larry Rostron and daughter in law Elizabeth Rodgers. She is also survived by siblings Rodney Smith and Evelyn Lee while Mickey, Hazel, Lucille, Lefty and Edna passed before her. There are also her lifelong best friends Virginia Jones and Agnes Murrill and many valued cousins, nieces and nephews. The funeral service for Joy will be Saturday at one in the afternoon at the Peninsula Funeral Home Chapel. There will also be a viewing Friday evening from six to seven-thirty.
Published in Daily Press on Mar. 25, 2014
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