Robert James Bob Rodgers

March 21, 1927 ~ March 17, 2023
“As a pilot of almost 70 years, I have lifted off on my last flight. I am defying gravity this time as I am not coming back down. I am proud to say after thousands of airborne hours I never scratched or dented an airplane and never left one up there”.
Bob was born in Camas, WA, to Albion and Margaret (Schick) Rodgers on March 21, 1927. He attended Camas and Union High School. He enlisted in the Navy when he was 17 and served in the South Pacific during World War II in the US Naval Amphibious Forces. When he returned home, like most returning young men that hadn’t graduated high school, he took a test to receive his high school diploma. The principal, Ms. Nora Self, (later to become his aunt by marriage) didn’t want those worldly boys anywhere near her high school girls, hence, the test.
He married Lenore Self in 1948 and they had four children: William (Bill) Rodgers, Karen Luton-Poellnitz, Donald (Don) Rodgers and infant son, Michael Rodgers.
He lived with Mary Lindstrom, his partner in life, for 35 years until her death in 2015 at the age of 81.
In the summer of 2006, at a USS Sarasota Naval Reunion, Bob met Glen and Mary Beth Jensen. Several years after Glen’s passing, Bob attended another USS Sarasota Reunion and the proverbial “eyes met across the room”. He and Mary Beth had a wonderful year together before his passed on March 17, 2023 four days before his 96th birthday. They lived in Lena, WI.
In 1967 Bob went to Vietnam as a tugboat skipper transporting bombs by barge from offshore to a military depot. One heck of a way to spend one’s vacation time, but he wanted to, again, serve his country. He hunted, fished and golfed, and had many stories to go with each event. Some stories were “whoppers”, like his Bigfoot sighting, but that was the fun of listening to the story. He would smile, chuckle and enjoy the thought of embellishing his stories just a wee bit! But, flying was his greatest joy. All three of his children were taught to land an airplane in case of emergency. We spent many a weekend doing touch and goes. Thank goodness we never had to use that skill. Bob also took gliding lessons. What a joy it was with just the wind in your ears and the peace of the sky.
Bob worked for 27 years at Crown Zellerbach Paper mill in Camas on tugboats and as a millwright. He then worked another 20 years as a full time union official, retiring as the Executive Vice President of the AWPPW, Associated Western Pulp and Paper Workers. He loved to negotiate…bargaining sessions were his favorite.
He is survived by his daughter, Karen Luton-Poellnitz (Chuck) of Ilwaco, WA; four grandsons, Bill Jr. and Jason (Jeniffer) Rodgers and Jeff (Michelle) Luton and Chris (Scott Grady) Luton; nine great-grandchildren; niece, Linda Sargent, of Oklahoma; and nephew, Michael (Becky) Rodgers of Troutdale, OR; his sister-in-law, Patsy Self of Gresham, OR. He is also survived by many cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Tony and Don; his two sons, Bill and Don Rodgers, an infant son, Michael; his former wife, Lenore; and his life partner, Mary.
Bob has requested there be no service. This spring, Saturday, June 3rd at 1:00… There will be a VFW and Honor Guard Ceremony at the Camas Cemetery at the new crypt wall. Please feel free to donate to your favorite charity in lieu of flowers.
Fly to your heart’s content, Dad/Papa.
You were loved and will be missed!