July 14, 1949 – May 14, 2020
The world was fortunate enough to have Patrick Rodgers with us for 70 years, 10 months and 1 day, although it was far too short. He was a man of exceedingly generous spirit, always finding the good in others, in situations, in life. Until the end, he remarked how fortunate he was, they were, to have the life they had. Pat lived with pancreatic cancer for 27 months, a very long far-too-short time, but his life was defined by so much more. If you have ever met a person more kind, generous, gracious, funny, and positive, then you are fortunate, indeed.
He was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1949, and moved to Los Angeles at age 4. He attended Cleveland High School in the San Fernando Valley, and then UCLA, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology, and a master’s degree in biology. He married a wonderful woman, Anne Sheridan, a.k.a. “the first Anne,” in 1972, and they put each other through school. They had several wonderful years together before going their separate ways. During his years in LA, he was active in the YMCA, first as a camper and then as a leader. He taught high school science and math. He loved those kids. They loved him. In 1984, he moved on from teaching high schoolers to training adults in computer technology, eventually becoming a computer programmer/analyst himself, until he retired in 2016.
In LA, he met Ann Snapp at a party and, although he tried to believe he was not smitten, it was clear that he was. After a trip up to Griffith Observatory to see Haley’s Comet, which went unseen because of the rarest of LA clouds, he proposed on the school bus on the way back down the hill. There is probably a metaphor here for their lives together: a life of learning and doing together, and blazing, endless, steady, unflashy love.
Pat and Ann moved from LA to Ann Arbor in 1993, with their young daughter Emily, in search of a life with less driving and more living. This is the life they found, and helped to build, in their neighborhood on Ann Arbor’s west side. Pat adored his family and would rather be with them than anywhere else in the world. He was a wonderful parent and spouse, spending many happy hours with Ann and Emily, talking, laughing, cooking, bicycling, ice skating, skiing (of all sorts), doing house projects, planning menus, traveling far and near, going to Emily’s soccer games and plays and concerts, picnicking in the backyard, sitting near each other reading, being together, happy.
Pat was often seen around Ann Arbor, and rarely without Ann. They were regulars at Top of the Park, eating breakfast at Bell’s, hanging out with their neighbors, and dancing every Friday night at Live. Pat lived by the principle that every person matters, and that we can each help to make the world a better place. Living his convictions, he volunteered with many organizations, including the YMCA, Christic Institute, Michigan Peaceworks, and Huron River Watershed Council. They were regulars at rallies, marches, and seeking petition signatures. He wore a pink hat.
Pat loved discussing the events of the day and our place in the world, and was always eager to listen and learn about others’ lives, and to weigh in with his thoughtful perspective, grounded in his deep sense of fairness, equality and hope. Pat, Ann and Emily were active in AFS and, through that organization, hosted many exchange students over the years, who became beloved family members in their own right. Pat loved drawing each of them out, learning about their lives, experiences, perspectives, hopes and dreams; he listened carefully, supported well, guided when needed, connected deeply, and laughed freely. Pat loved kids, and was especially good with high schoolers, who loved him back (see high school teacher, above).
Pat loved having people over for dinner, because he loved people, and he loved dinner. He was a gracious host, making sure everyone had a drink and an appetizer, while he and Ann created their amazing dinners of multiple, scrumptious dishes and sauces, and engaging conversation. Pat kept his kitchen knives sharpened, wooden bowls oiled, and cast iron pans properly seasoned. He used their warming drawer regularly, to the envy of many. Pat found joy in making food for his many friends and extended family, and we, the lucky recipients of his kitchen prowess, found joy in eating his many amazing dishes. He accepted gifts of wine with a joke about its price; friends learned to doctor the price label in advance to earn his laugh, which was freely given. He did not, however, keep jalapeno mustard in their well-appointed pantry. We don’t know why.
Pat loved corny jokes, and always had one at the ready. Just a single joke at a time, which he practiced repeatedly, told over and over, and no one ever tired of hearing. Here’s a Pat classic: “Why did the mushroom go to the party? Because he’s a fun guy. Why did the fungi leave the party? Because there wasn’t mush room.”
Pat loved to dance, and was often seen doing so around Ann Arbor; Pat and Ann would always be among the first to get onto any dance floor that presented itself. He took ballroom dancing lessons and used them well. Pat taught his nieces how to ballroom dance, and didn’t even complain when they stepped on his toes. They would ask to come cook with him, because who wouldn’t want to cook with Pat? Together, they would chop and mince and dance around the kitchen.
In addition to cooking and dancing, he loved woodworking, traveling, growing vegetables, going to the gym, progressive politics, penguins, his beloved wife Ann, and their daughter Emily, probably not in that order. He was willing to try anything new, and he threw himself whole-cloth into learning whatever he needed to know to do the new thing properly. And then he would do it, precisely, carefully, thoughtfully, meticulously, perfectly. He recycled, he ate organic. Pat always, always voted. He was looking forward to casting his vote of hope for a new and better day in November.
The world is better for having had Pat in it. He was a man of peace, goodwill, and humility, despite his many talents. Pat saw the good in everyone, and came to the world with a generosity of spirit and kindness, and quiet, gentle, strength that is an inspiration to us all. He will be greatly missed.
For now, please keep your memories of Pat, and your thoughts of his family, in your hearts. When the world opens up again, when our current scourges are banished and we have a reason to celebrate once more, perhaps there will be a memorial in his honor, and we can all come together in the spirit of hope, peace, and inspiration that Pat embodied. Until then, do this for Pat: vote.
Contributions in honor of Pat’s life can be made to Huron River Watershed Council (hrwc.org).
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
May 31, 2020
Pat was our neighbor in Long Beach, CA. He used to walk by our house on the way to the L.A. River carrying baby Emily in his pack. Pat and I served on the board of our neighborhood association in the early 1990s. I was impressed by Pat’s thoughtfulness, humanity, and sincere dedication. Pat was also a great listener! After parts of our neighborhood were burned during the riots in 1992, we felt utter despair. Our board was brainstorming things we could do to help the community recover. I suggested creating an award enabling neighbors to recognize other neighbors' good deeds — both large and small — that contributed to our quality of life. That idea might not have gone anywhere if Pat had not voiced support for it at the end of the meeting. Pat wanted that pursued. Three years and 50 Quality of Life Awards later, our community did recover, and Pat contributed to that success.
Because my husband and I came from Ann Arbor to Long Beach, and because Pat, Ann, and Emily moved from Long Beach to Ann Arbor, we were able to keep in touch a bit over the years and found we had some mutual friends. It was always a pleasure to see Pat and Ann on the dance floor and to hear how Emily was doing. Our hearts go out to Ann and Emily and to all of Pat’s family and friends.
Candy Mead and Brophy Dale
May 31, 2020
I have had the privilege of being the first exchange student hosted by Pat & Ann back in 1990 when they were living in Long Beach , California and I can only say that I had one of the best times of my life when I was with them. They were great hosts !
Pat was a genuin good person , very friendly and always welcoming other people. No matter who you were , he was good to everyone making him the greatest American of all time.
I am blessed to have known him and I will miss him.
On May 14th , America lost a great heart !
Jan (from Belgium)
May 30, 2020
We were at a protest at the Federal Building in Ann Arbor and spied Pat and Ann In the crowd. Bumping along together, they invited us to dinner right then and there. Lamb stew. Their hospitality to us, the loveliness of the conversation, the food! - an exceptional evening for us of feeling welcome, and experiencing two extraordinary persons. Also - saying hi at Bell’s. We’ll always think of him..
May 29, 2020
I remember being around Pat and Ann in Los angeles when I was a child because my parents did some bee hive work together. I remember his good nature and feeling relaxed and comfortable around him. I remember his sense of humor. Pat easily laughed and not many people that I knew were down to earth and respectful and caring and loving like he was. He left a good impression on me on what a true genuine person could and should be.
The world is a better place with people like Pat in it.
Barbara & Rod Fryer
May 25, 2020
We are so sorry for your loss, Ann, Emily , & family. Pat was taken much too soon , as he had so much to contribute, and it is heartbreaking that his illness took so much from him. We were close friends back in the 80's and early 90's while he was in California. We worked together when he was a teacher, and then became close friends and got into a beekeeping business with him and his wife, the first Anne, where we spent our weekends and days off together building the hives , caring for the bees and harvesting the honey. If was such a joy to be in Pat's company because of his his spirit, his caring, his sense of humor, , his intellect, his attention to detail, and his wonderful nature. Many blessings to you,Pat, for all that you gave to the people and situations in your life. With much love and gratitude, Barbara & Rod
May 23, 2020
As an exchange student with AFS back in 2012-2013, I wasn’t hosted by The Rodgers family, but i’ll never forget how welcoming Pat was.
For our first exchange student mixer, Pat & Anne hosted an ice cream social at their house. Pat made sure everyone had the flavor they wanted and made sure to learn all our names and where we were from. And when I got my scoops, and Pat asked my name, his first reaction was “That is a beautiful name.” Which meant the world to me at the time considering that all afternoon I was being told how difficult my name was to pronounce.
I didn’t know Pat well, but his kindness, generosity and hospitality at that moment, and all AFS days that followed will never be forgotten.
May 23, 2020
I am so sorry for your loss. My love goes out to you and all the family in this hard and unprecedented time.
I send my love and condolences to everyone that’s hurting. Pat was a great man when I knew him, he made me feel so so welcomed!!
May 22, 2020
Ann and Emily,
Lisa, John, Isobel and Julia,
and all the family,
We are so sorry to hear of Patrick’s passing.
We will vote.
Blessings and peace,
Vicky and Loren
May 22, 2020
Ann, I am so sorry for your loss.
May 22, 2020
i had seen Pat and Ann now and again over the years in Ann Arbor at events during the summer and occasionally they would attend the beer tasting parties in January at my son's home. a lovely couple but I never really had the privilege of knowing them. I had a ninetieth birthday party this past December and they were kind enough to attend. During the evening Pat had asked to dance and I did not do it. I did have a few minutes to visit with Pat and Ann but was thinking that perhaps I could get a dance with him at my grandaughter's wedding. this year not thinking of his medical condition. Oh. how I regret that now. To dance with that man who, I only now, having read of his work as a special human being, I so so regret my answer. Forgive me Pat. So sorry for your loss Ann.
May 19, 2020
From the time I first met Pat at Cleveland High School (or was it Northridge Junior High), I knew I had a friend. Pat never judged, never discriminated, and always smiled.
We reconnected a couple of times through the years, and happily I got to visit Ann and Pat in Ann Arbor twice, as well as to spend time with them at our high school reunion gatherings. I will always treasure knowing Pat.
I look forward to an in-person hug for Ann as soon as it is possible.
May 19, 2020
Dear Ann and Emily,
I’m so sad to hear about the passing of Pat. He was such an exceptional man. Very kind hearted, with a definite love for family , friends and life. So hard to understand why the good die young. I feel privileged to have been able to know him all these years. I will miss our conversations in the dental chair. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family.
Shelly Brewer 💐
Susan Van Ry
May 18, 2020
To Pat’s family: I’m so sorry for your loss. As a fellow classmate in high school, I knew Pat as a wonderful, kind, honest person. He was non judgmental and made everyone he knew feel appreciated for exactly who they were. Sending blessings and love.
May 18, 2020
Dear Ann and Emily,
We have so many years of great memories with you two and Pat. We are so sorry he's gone. I wish I had the elegant, comforting words to ease the pain, but all I can do is swear about how unfair this is.
We will really miss him.
Bobbi (Rodgers) Roszkowski
May 18, 2020
Pat was my oldest younger brother. We spent our early years together with our older brother Michael and with our youngest brother, Dennis.
Thru life changes, my brothers moved to California and we spent years apart, me going there, them coming here. But reconnected for good as adults. Spent family reunions every July for many years and our bond grew.
I will forever miss him, his smile, his sense of humor, all the things that he brought to our family.
He is now at peace....
Randy Badon Romero
May 18, 2020
In our senior year at Cleveland High, Pat and I were sent to a Hollywood prop rental to rent a mirror ball for the prom. I didn't know him well and was very ill at ease and self conscious. Pat was so very kind and did everything in his power to put me at ease. School is tough and so are kids, so it was very unusual to have him be so kind. I've remembered that all these years. I believe that's just who he was. He will be missed.
May 17, 2020
I am so sorry to learn of the passing of my cousin Pat Rodgers. Pat was a really good guy and will be greatly missed. I have very fond memories of Pat and Dennis from when we were all children together. I remember our families getting together when they still lived in Akron. The picture I have shared shows Pat and Dennis standing beside East Reservoir behind our home there. Later when they visited from California I remember them showing us how to make tacos - that was the first time I had ever had one. Since you moved back to Michigan we have had the opportunity to reconnect for which I will be always grateful. I have prayed for Pat every day since learning of his illness. My prayers and good wishes will remain with his family.
Jo Ann Marcoux
May 17, 2020
To Ann and Family,
Please accept my condolences. Pat was a kind neighbor and a good person who will be missed. You and your family are in my thoughts.