DOUGLAS – A Celebration of Life service for Jess Louis Rodgers, 86, will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at the Fort Reno Building on the Wyoming State Fairgrounds in Douglas, with The Rev. Bobbe Fitzhugh of Christ Episcopal Church in Douglas officiating and Darin Rodgers as the eulogist.
A reception will follow at the Moose Lodge No. 602, 120 North Second Street in Douglas. Inurnment will be in the Douglas Park Cemetery at a later date.
Jess Louis Rodgers passed away peacefully in the loving company of his granddaughter, Hailey Bloom, his grandson, Greg Gerou, and his daughter, Cheri, at 1:10 p.m., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, due to a number of health issues.
He was born in Pollock, Mo., on Monday, Oct. 9, 1933, to Laura Eleanor (Kolego) Rodgers and William Wayne Rodgers.Jess was raised by Laura Kolego Rodgers Dixon and Robert D. Dixon with his younger brother, William Clarence Rodgers, at their ranch near Lance Creek.
While growing up, Jess enjoyed life on the ranch with his family – in particular, he had a very special relationship with his mother’s brother, his uncle Francis Kolego, who lived in nearby Shawnee. Jess graduated from Douglas High School in 1951 and attended Casper College for a year, majoring in journalism.
While attending high school at Douglas High School, Jess met and fell in love with Eleanor Dee Whitaker. Eleanor was one year younger than Jess. They dated throughout high school and eloped the December after Eleanor’s high school graduation in Rapid City, S.D., on Dec. 29, 1951.
Eleanor and Jess welcomed five children into their lives: David “Dave,” Richard “Dick,” Cheri, Walter Wayne “Skip,” and Darin. After living in Douglas and Sterling, Colo., Jess and Eleanor moved to Casper in 1957.
Jess loved to hunt with friends and his sons. He served as a Scout Master for two of his sons and looked forward to time spent out of doors and camping. Jess and Eleanor loved to travel, gambling trips with friends, ranching and spending time with family.
He was a life-long member of the NRA, Elks, Moose Lodge No. 602, Wyoming Stock Growers, Wyoming Farm Bureau, Converse County Sons of American Legion, the Wyoming Republican Party, Wyoming Pioneer Association and served as a volunteer for the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Following Jess’ retirement, Jess and Eleanor retired to “Oleo Acres,” south of Douglas to enjoy the country life. Jess was famous for growing hay and raising “used cattle” to stay busy long into his retirement.
He is survived by his children; David “Dave” and wife Debb, their children, Bryan Rodgers (Jessica), children: Jordan, Penelope, Griffin and Isadora, Steve (Denise), children; Gadge, Jesse and Arianna Rodgers, step-grandchildren Ben (Libby) Lamp, children; Kayla, Drake , Dayne, Lonnie, Cactus Jack, Brock (Stephanie) Crossley, children; Carmine, Calyn Camille, Killian, Jill Crossley. Eleanor and Jess’ son Dick’s widow Janet, Children; Chris (Anita), Peter Rodgers. Eleanor and Jess’s daughter Cheri (Phil), children; Greg (Briana) children; Caroline and granddaughter Sara/Jerry Gerou. Eleanor and Jess’ son Darin (Crystal), children; granddaughter Hailey (Jesse) Bloom, step-grandson Jake (Kaitlyn) Mongan, children; Peyton, Josie, step-grandson, Dylan Mongan.
Jess was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Eleanor, on June 4, 2020; father, William W. Rodgers; mother, Laura E. Dixon, on March 1, 1992; step-father, Robert B. Dixon, on Dec. 27, 1966; sons, Walter Wayne “Skip” Rodgers, on June 28, 1989 and Richard “Dick” Rodgers; and brother, William C. Rodgers, on May 2, 2002.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jess’ name to the Wyoming Pioneer Association, P.O. Box 1545, Douglas, WY 82633 or to the Ranchers Memorial Scholarship Fund in care of the Converse County Bank, P.O. Box 689, Douglas, WY 82633.
The Gorman Funeral Homes – Converse Chapel of Douglas is in charge of the arrangements.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.gormanfh.com