J. W. Rodgers, 81, of Pine Bluff, Ark. died on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. He was born in Plain Dealing, La. on April 26, 1932 to parents, JE and Gracie May Rodgers. JW was the middle child, and the last to die, of 10 siblings, JC, Samuel (Buddy), Drayton (Bitsy), Travis, Jimmy, Martha Ann (Sister) ,Beverly, Billy, Barbara, and Dayton.
JW was married to Martha R. Byrd, also of Plain Dealing, on April 14, 1949. He was an active member of Hardin Baptist Church, where he was devoted to serving the church in many capacities. He especially loved driving the church bus for senior activities.
JW worked for International Paper Company for 45 years, where he was a power plant operator. He commemorated his retirement by running 15+plus miles home on the day of his retirement.
JW was a Mason and a longtime member of the Masonic Lodge #69.
JW enjoyed his life. He loved his yard, gardening, camping, and traveling. He was a friend to any critter he could feed, bird, squirrel etc. and he and Martha spent many wonderful minutes watching the animals feed off their back deck.. They traveled to all 50 of the United States, where they mostly camped (Alaska was a favorite). During his travels he was not a sit back tourist but an active outdoorsman who truly experienced the land and kept a journal of it all.
JW believed in being physically fit. He was a runner for many years and competed in numerous races (5K, 12K) throughout the state and country including San Hosea, CA where he was a part of a relay team representing International Paper. He ran in several marathons but felt Pike’s Peak was his greatest running accomplishment. He loved the Polar Plunge and was still able to take the plunge in January, 2013.
He was honored in 1996 for being selected as a carrier of the Olympic Torch.
JW was a blood donor for Red Cross for many years, giving 38 gallons before he became unable to donate.
JW devoted many of his later years to assisting others. He loved being able to take friends to and from doctor appointments and hospitals. He also loved visiting nursing homes. At White Hall he was called the Hummingbird Man because of his habit of keeping the resident’s hummingbird feeders filled.
JW fulfilled his last commitment by being accepted by UAMS as a body donor.
JW is survived by his wife of 64 years, Martha R. Rodgers , daughter, Deborah Caldwell (Billy), son, Joey Rodgers of Pine Bluff, AR., grandchildren, Matt Johnson (Emily). Jeff Rodgers, Kristin Caldwell, and Kelly Caldwell, great grandchildren Jeffery Rodgers, Marina Rodgers, Phoenix Caldwell and Arianna Jackson.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Fund: 222 W Pope Street, Monticello, AR 71655 (870-367-5358), Hardin Baptist Church Building Fund: 300 Todd Lynn Drive, Pine Bluff, AR, 71602 (870-247-1980, or the Dixie Jackson State Ministry Offering (C/O Hardin Baptist Church. There will be a memorial service at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10, at Hardin Baptist Church, Pine Bluff, Ark. A time of fellowship will follow the service in the church’s fellowship hall.