Brenda Rodgers (1937 - 2019)

9 entries
  • "Dear Hal, Just read the beautiful obit! What a shock, I am..."
    - Jack & Tiny Devlin
  • "Please accept my sincerest condolences and know that the..."
  • "Sorry for your loss. Take time to grieve and find comfort..."
  • "Please accept my dearest and heartfelt sympathy; I am so..."
    - RK
  • "My family and I send our heartfelt condolences for your..."
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Service Information
Janssen's Eagle River Funeral Home
16421 Brooks Loop Road
Eagle River, AK
Memorial Gathering
Sunday, Apr. 14, 2019
4:00 PM
VFW Hall
10527 VFW Rd
Eagle River, AK
View Map

I was born on Oct. 9, 1937, in St. Louis, Mo., in the year of the great flood. I don't recall the flood but do seem to remember Mom's water breaking.
I was raised in a loving home by my parents Ralph and Sadie Rosen. Putting up with older brother Jack and younger sister Marian was a challenge I tried to master and was blessed to have them both.
I graduated from University City High School in Missouri number 55 out of 500, and did it without having to bribe a single teacher.
Not wanting college at that time, I worked as a dental assistant for my father for a couple years and then headed to Southern Illinois University for my freshman year, followed by earning a Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene from the University of Missouri in Kansas City.
After three years in private practice in Denver, Colo., I heard John F. Kennedy's "Ask Not" speech and headed off to the Peace Corps in Brazil, where I ended up in the Favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro. I was told only two types of woman live in those areas: prostitutes and nuns. Neither of those choices were acceptable to me, so I set out to create a new breed of female residents.
That was followed by earning a Masters in Public Health Education from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Job opportunities came from all over, but the one that caught my fancy was with the U.S. Agency for International Development in war-torn Vietnam in 1967. My loving parents questioned my judgment, as did the whole family. I argued I would be given a true opportunity to grow professionally. Then finally I stated, "I'm an old maid of 29 and there are 500,000 men over there and I'm going to get me one." My matriarchal aunt said, "Go already. I'll pack you sandwiches."
Things came to fruition as I became Public Health Education Advisor to the Mayor of Saigon and met Harold L. Rodgers. That is "Hal Baby" with the blue eyes. After two years of courtship we were married at the Saigon City Hall.
Following three years in Vietnam, I returned to the USA in 1970, where I had to adapt to being an officer's wife and follow him on assignments that necessitated five moves in 16 years. Fortunately employment was always found from counties to states to cities to the U.N. in Korea, and finally Alaska Area Native Health Service, where I worked for 17 years until retirement in 1982. As a Public Health Educator you might say I covered everything from AIDS to zits.
After retirement I turned my hobbies into downright fun as I exercised walk, volunteered, fished and spent time tickling the computer keyboard as a wanabee writer. My Vietnam saga never got printed (Hal claims I did not have enough sex in it), but portions were in Vietnam Magazine and included in books by others. Mostly I enjoyed writing essays on life that were full of humor and heartwarming messages. I still can't believe many were printed locally and nationally.
Please no celebration of life. Throw a hail and farewell void of flowers and full of fun. Hal will like that. Donate if you care to or to red 36 on the roulette wheel.
I tried to live the words of Christopher Reeve, a.k.a. Superman: "Success is not about money and power; real success is about relationships."
Had a great life trying to brighten the lives of others.
Hail and farewell will be held at the VFW Hall, 10527 VFW Road in Eagle River, Alaska, on April 14, 2019, at 4 p.m.

Published in Anchorage Daily News on Mar. 31, 2019
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