Marion R. “Rodge” Rodgers
September 23, 1921 – December 5, 2017
Marion R. “Rodge” Rodgers USAF Ret, Tuskegee Airman, has passed over. He peacefully transitioned in the presence of family on December 5, 2017.
On December 5, 2017, we lost a much loved and admired friend and comrade. Anyone would find it difficult to have led a more serving, adventuresome, and meaningful life than did Marion Raymond “Rodge” Rodgers, LtC Retired, US Air Force. From very humble beginnings, born, September 23, 1921, in Detroit Michigan, and raised in Lauren’s County, Dublin, Georgia by his mother, and in Roselle, New York, and Elizabeth, New Jersey, by his brother Herman, he quickly grew to love airplanes and flight, in their formative years.
During these years he ran track meets in Manhattan and was a light weight boxer at Madison Square Garden. His career led him from Tuskegee, commanding the 99th squadron, through WWII, the Korean Conflict, commanding the 6023rd Radar Evaluation Squadron in Japan and Okinawa, and into the North American Air Defense Command. His final career assignment was on the Apollo 13 mission with NASA.
Equally as complex was the rich community leadership roles he played, accompanied by his quite beautiful and complex bride of 65 years, Nora Suzanne Thomas. Together they changed futures in civil rights, community, and grass roots politics. Rodge hosted, as a volunteer, a bi-weekly television presentation on KKTV, highlighting leaders and entertainers, “Involvement”, from 1965 to 1985. He ran 25 Bolder Boulder 10k races, and 7 Pikes Peak Ascensions. His 25- by 45-foot HAM radio antennae crowned his house and connected him to the world, long before the Internet.
Thomas Steven Rodgers, his only son, passed in 1996; wife Suzanne in December 2013. Rodge is survived by his nieces: Janet Rhoades of Boulder, Sonja Rogers of Rhode Island, and Doris and Ray Bolden of New Jersey; and nephew, Keith Rogers, California. Also by daughter, and long-term caregiver(s) Denise Vosburgh, and only grandson, Ethan Nathaniel Vosburgh, of Newport, Rhode Island.
Some surviving family-of-choice members include the Dykes of Alabama, RN Paula Nietert, Norvell Simpson, and the 1st Presbyterian Roths of Colorado Springs and the entire Hooks-Jones Tuskegee Airmen Chapter. Extended family on the Thomas side of the family include Gayle and Phillip Clark of Baltimore, and Cheryl Weber of Arizona, plus her multiple generations mentored by Rodgers for years.
More information about Rodge can be found at
http://colorado-redtails.com/ (education fund donations welcomed)
A visitation will be held from 9:00 – 9:50 a.m. followed by funeral services officiated by Pastor Matt Holtzman at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at Shrine of Remembrance “America the Beautiful” Chapel, 1730 East Fountain Boulevard (at Union Blvd.), Colorado Springs, CO 80910, 719-634-1597. Parking lots are available surrounding the funeral home. USAF military honors with P-51 Mustang fly-over will take place at 11:15 a.m. A Celebration of Life luncheon reception will follow directly across the street at the Olympian Plaza Reception and Event Center, 975 South Union Boulevard, with famous pianist, Mr. Thomas Dawson, Director of Music for The Commodores. Private entombment will take place at Shrine of Remembrance Mausoleum, Garden of Angels.