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Robert Charles Rodgers, Jr, known to family and friends as Bob (or often Bobby to his chagrin), passed away peacefully on Friday, October 28. His storied life began on Nov 26, 1941, when he was welcomed into this world by his parents Robert Charles Rodgers, Sr. and Louise Warner Rodgers.
He loved to regale his family with stories of an adventurous childhood in Sapulpa, where his exploits included conquering Sugarloaf Hill and devising various incendiary devices to the consternation of both his parents and younger brother, Richard. He spent a fair amount of time in the Ferndale Cafe, which was owned by his grandmother Lillie Warner. His first wife, Jana Lane Rodgers, remembered dining there with her family in the 1950s and noticing a young Bobby sitting in the window playing guitar.
He developed an abiding love of the outdoors spending time hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather. He grew up to be an avid outdoorsman, devoting many hours to exploring the ponds, woods, and creeks of Creek County. His love for sitting in duck blinds on freezing autumn mornings was always inexplicable to his children. The flask of brandy he often carried on such outings may have enhanced the experience for him. Regardless, his love for hunting waterfowl never waned.
After graduating from Sapulpa High School in 1959, he attended Oklahoma State University. His sweetheart Jana followed him to Stillwater, and they were married over the Christmas holidays in 1962 so as to qualify for married student housing for the next semester. His devotion to frugality blossomed at an early age, and was often remarked on by family, friends, and co-workers.
After graduation, the young couple spent some time in Arkansas before settling again in Sapulpa. In 1966, Bob accepted a mandatory invitation from the federal government to serve in the U.S. Army. Despite being a college graduate, he elected to join the enlisted corps. He served for two years as a Hawk missile technician, mostly in Okinawa where he and Jana lived for a year and made many fond memories. According to him, his discharge was secured by the timely provision of a bottle of Scotch whiskey to the officer in charge of processing the paperwork.
Upon returning to civilian life, he worked briefly for the State of Oklahoma and in 1972 the young family increased with the arrival of a son. Soon thereafter, Bob enrolled at OSU Tech in Okmulgee to pursue an education in refrigeration. This education provided the foundation for what became his lifelong career. In 1976 a daughter completed the family.
Soon, the entrepreneurial spirit struck Bob, and he founded a business, R. C. Refrigeration, and purchased the first of many blue and white Ford vans. The business flourished, providing both a comfortable living and a steady stream of Chinese food brought home for the family.
He was preceded in death by Jana, but found love again and in 2015 married Barbara Karnes Rodgers. They made their home in Sapulpa on the aptly named Rodgers Road. She has been a great source of comfort, care and cheer to him, and the entire family is blessed by her. Bob always made impeccable choices in who he embraced in his life. They enjoyed traveling all over the country visiting family, and Bob was happy to have found a driver who shared his tendency toward brisk travel. They also loved driving just to see the countryside while having wide-ranging conversations. Barb’s part in making his later years joyful cannot be overstated.
He was a great lover of animals, especially dogs (a couple of cats over the years were deemed worthy of a special measure of affection). It was not unusual to see him wrestling a dog on the living room floor. He had a fondness for English Springer Spaniels and Black Labrador Retrievers, and several of each were steadfast companions over the years.
Even greater than the bond he shared with his dogs was the bond with his family. He took pride in his place in the lineage of his forebears and descendants and embraced his role as son, brother, husband, father, uncle, and grandfather with distinct gladness.
There are myriad stories to be told about his life, and he would be satisfied to know that the trademark Rodgers exaggeration will be applied to tales of his escapades. We’ll be following his example, telling his stories, and missing him for many years to come.
Bob is survived by his loving wife, Barbara, brother Richard Rodgers, and children Shelly McKinney, Sandra Blakemore, Shohn Rodgers, Ken Walling, and Scott Walling. He will also be deeply missed by grandchildren Maison, Clint, Joel, Lacey, Nick, Shawnee, Taylor, K.J., Jory, Nathan, Lily, Thomas, Simon, Nicholas, Tom, Alice, and great-grandchildren Avery, Gray, Barrett,Grant, Harper, and Hazel.