(Unknown) – June 30, 2022 (age 70)
New Windsor, NY
Richard G. Rodgers, age 70, loving husband and friend, passed away at Vassar Brothers Medical Center on June 30, 2022 after a brief, but hard-fought battle with lymphoma.
He grew up in New Windsor and attended St Patrick’s and Newburgh Free Academy, where he met the most astounding group of lifelong friends dubbed the “IBBA”. Rodg (as he was affectionately called) never really was one to sit still for very long, so he learned to play the drums and joined The Goodwill Ambassadors Jr. Drum and Bugle Corps in Newburgh, NY. He also marched with The Poughkeepsie Pacers and the world renowned Hawthorne Muchachos, where he met another group of amazing, also lifelong friends. At age 19, he joined the Army and was stationed at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he played snare drum with the legendary Hell Cats. In the mid 1970’s, he went out West to California to teach drum corps. Unfortunately, the job fell through, but he then discovered a new path, live theatre. It was in the musical “Man of La Mancha” that he met, who he called, “Susan Jean Hoffman Rodgers, my Cakes, my wife and love of life”. They were married in 1987 in Long Beach, CA and continued working in theatre both on and off stage, appearing together in such shows as “Annie”, “Guys and Dolls”, “Good News!”, and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” starring Debbie Reynolds. Rodg toured Europe and the United States with “Fame, the Musical” and also built sets and stages, as he was a highly skilled carpenter.
Life brought them back to New Windsor in 2006, where Rodg’s touring continued as the Toymaker in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. Finally retiring from Actors’ Equity Association in 2017, he went to work with First Student Bus Company in Walkill, NY. But his love of theatre never left him, as he would make up parodies of popular songs to signal the other bus drivers to open their doors and let the students in.
Rodg loved to laugh and his laugh made everybody else laugh. His heart was huge and his smile infectious, with a hint of the mischievous Irishman that he was. May that smile linger in the hearts of all who knew him.
Rodg is survived by his wife of 35 years, Susan Hoffman Rodgers of New Windsor, and many cousins and many, many friends.
He is predeceased by his father and mother, Felix and Agnes Rodgers, and his two brothers, Robert Rodgers and Rev. Hilary Rodgers.
Susan would like to thank the medical staffs at both the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System and Vassar Brothers Medical Center for the respect and care they gave to Rodg throughout his final journey.
A Memorial Visitation will be held on Saturday August 13, 2022 from 1-3pm at Brooks Funeral Home, 481 Gidney Avenue Newburgh, NY 12550, followed by a celebration of his life at Nu Cavu Restaurant, 857 Plains Road Wallkill, NY 12589, starting at 4pm.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to either the American Cancer Society in memory of Rodg, or the Alzheimers Association in memory of his brother, Hilary.