LAKELAND - Iola Rodgers "Judy", 89, died peacefully in her sleep January 3, 2013, at Grace Manor at Lake Morton. The cause of death was heart failure.
She had moved to Lakeland in September of 2009 from the Chicago area. Iola was born and raised in Zif Township, Illinois, a rural area of endless wheat and corn fields. She and two close friends left the area for Chicago upon high school graduation in 1943 to work for the Federal Government at the Merchandise Mart. In 1949 she married Pete Hendler with whom she had two children Patricia Ann Hendler of Lakeland, FL and Carol Lynn Hend-ler, who pre-deceased her.
In 1956 Iola began a 45 year career in sales at Marshall Fields & Company where she was the recipient of the Fields Finest Award in recognition of her exemplary service to both Marshall Fields and her many loyal customers who returned to her year after year, some even traveling back to her suburban store after having moved from the area. In 1977 Iola married Hubert Rodgers who pre-deceased her in 2009.
Iola, known as Judy to her friends and family, was a hard worker, whether the task at hand was her career, her garden, volunteering at the Ladies Auxiliary of the V.F.W
. where she was President of her local post, or parenting. She was an exemplary mother who strived to instill a sense of independence while still providing a loving home which was always open to her daughter and other young people whom she fostered over the years. She will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved her for her generous ways, ready smile, and laughter. She was a role model who provided an example of industry, energy, and a forthright, enthusiastic approach to living. If anything was worth doing, in her mind it was worth doing right and so she did.
Her family would like to extend their thanks to the staff at Grace Manor at Lake Morton, Sandy Bryant, and most especially to Kerry Wilkens and her loving family who took such gentle and loving care of Miss Judy including her in their family and allowing her the joys of sharing time with little Gabe and Brinlee who brought such happiness to her.
Graveside services will be held in Zif Township, Illinois at the Zif Baptist Church Cemetery on Tuesday, January 8, 2013. The family encourages that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to a
. Condolences may be sent to www.heathfuneralchapel.com