John “Jack” Darien Rodgers, 85, passed away peacefully in his sleep Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.
He was born Aug. 4, 1937, at home on Fishbach Street in Pottsville, Pa., to Sam and Emily Rodgers. As a boy, Jack enjoyed climbing trees, pretending to fly planes and playing war games with neighborhood kids. He attended Middle River School from first to third grade, and remembered listening to war news on the radio and the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, watching the casket of the 32nd president draped in a black cloth pass by on a train car, as he watched from a nearby field.
Jack would attend Pottsville High School football games with his father Friday nights as a boy, and walked at times more than a mile to school. That exposure to football would bloom into a passion for athletics and physical fitness that Jack carried with him all his life.
In junior high school, Jack played football and took his passion for the sport to high school, where he was a halfback. He was a member of the student council and sang in the junior choir at the local Methodist church, and in high school met his lifelong friend Jerry Malik.
Football was Jack’s ticket to University of Delaware, where he received a scholarship to play under Tubby Raymond. He lived in Brown Hall with Dave Bloodsworth and Tom Murray. He made many friends at University of Delaware, like Wayne Smith, Bob Dunn and Dave Bloodsworth.
It was at University of Delaware in 1958 that Jack met his wife, Alise Coverdale, whom he loved dearly. Pledging Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity as a freshman, early in their relationship, Jack and his fraternity brothers gathered around Alise’s window at Smyth Hall and sang to her as part of a pinning ceremony. They were engaged in November of 1959 and married for 62 years.
Jack was a member of the University of Delaware’s Reserve Officers’ Training Course and graduated in 1959 as a second lieutenant. He left for Army Transportation School in 1960 for an eight-week program, before leaving for Fort Meade, Md., to complete his training.
Upon returning to Newark from Fort Meade, Jack drove to North Wales to be in Jerry’s wedding to Sydney as best man. Jerry would serve as Jack’s best man when he married Alise at Newark Methodist Church on Main Street, Aug. 13, 1960.
Jack had an illustrious military career, taking Army courses in Wilmington on the weekends while teaching at Anna P. Mote in Marshallton. Alise would often pack him two lunches for his commute. He was a member of Wilmington's 7th Infantry Division, the 300th Transportation Group Headquarters Helicopter Maintenance Group and Indiantown Gap’s 28th Infantry Division. He fulfilled his military obligation in 1967 at the rank of captain.
Jack taught 10th grade world history and 11th grade U.S. history, and additionally was the seventh grade football coach. He eventually moved to the high school’s coaching staff. Jack was the Social Studies Department chairman at Boyertown High School for several years and helped organize class trips to Washington, D.C. He taught a civil defense course to seniors and served as the president of the Teacher’s Association, where he helped negotiate teacher contracts.
Jack was an active member in his church; he and Alise served as charter members of St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Boyertown. The church did not exist before Jack and Alise helped organize the congregation to meet at Fairview Chapel, where Jack taught Sunday school. He served as chairman of the administrative board at St. Andrew and later became chairman of the Council of Ministry. Jack and Alise helped organize weekend retreats and encouraged the congregation to form small groups which met at home on a monthly basis to discuss scripture.
In Oley, Jack enjoyed swimming in his pool, the hot tub and working in the garage, where his family enjoyed hearing his joyful whistle as he tidied and puttered around. He passed on his love for the outdoors, fishing and hunting to his sons, Jack and Mark, who would often use their backyard as a starting point for their outdoor activities.
In 2001, Jack and Alise moved to Rehoboth Beach, and spent their winters in Naples, Fla., and made many friends including Richard and Eva, who invited the couple to their home country of Germany. Jack and Alise spent time touring several countries in Europe, including Paris and parts of Wales. In Rehoboth, Jack was a member of Epworth United Methodist Church, Schuylkill Historical Society, Sussex County Genealogical Society and Rehoboth Beach Historical Society.
Jack was a warm, compassionate man who always put his family before himself. He was eager to lend a helping hand to complete strangers and shared whatever wisdom or advice he could at every opportunity. He selflessly gave to his church, family and alma mater and will be deeply missed by his family and community.
Jack leaves behind his beloved wife, Alise Rodgers; sons John “Jack” Rodgers II and his wife Kathy and Mark Rodgers, and his wife Amy; and grandsons, Brett Rodgers and John “Jack” Rodgers III.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Epworth United Methodist Church, 19285 Holland Glade Road, Rehoboth Beach, where friends may visit beginning at 10 a.m. Burial will be private.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Atkins-Lodge Chapel, Lewes, DE.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Alzheimer's Disease Research, 2251 Gateway Center Drive, Clarksburg MD 20871, brightfocus.org/stopAD; Epworth United Methodist Church,19285 Holland Glade Road, Rehoboth Beach; or University of Delaware UD Gifts Processing, 83 E. Main St., Newark, DE 19716. Donors can write IMO Jack Rodgers in the memo line.
Visit Jack's Life Memorial Webpage and sign his virtual guestbook at parsellfuneralhomes.com.