June 23, 1916February 23, 2013

William Henry Rodgers, 96, of Sun City, AZ, passed away on February 23, 2013 in Peoria, AZ. He was born in Benton, Missouri in 1916. He was educated there until the last year of high school, which he spent at Central High in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and from which he was graduated in 1934. He spent two years at what is now Southeast Missouri State University and in his junior year he transferred to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. There he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1938 and a Master of Arts Degree in 1939. His area of specialization was Hispanic Studies.

He taught Spanish at Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri and at the Lakeside School for Boys in Seattle, Washington. In 1946 he became an instructor in the Romance Languages Department at the University of Minnesota where he did further graduate work in Spanish Literature and Latin American Studies. He took a leave of absence to accept a State Department grant to serve as the Director of Nicaraguan-American Cultural Center in Managua, Nicaragua in 1950. From there he was transferred to Guatemala to serve as the Director of the Guatemalan-American Institute. There he met and was married to Mary Jeanette Kohler in 1952.

After a year of further graduate study at the University of Minnesota, he joined the Foreign Service of the United States Information Agency, serving first as Cultural Attache in San Salvador, El Salvador and subsequently was sent to the American Embassy in Lima, Peru to serve for two years as Cultural Affairs Officer and two years as Information Officer. Other foreign assignments included Santiago, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and San Jose, Costa Rica. Two tours in Washington, D. C. included being Country Affairs Officer (USIA) for Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Venezuela and the Caribbean Area.

After retirement from the Foreign Service in 1976, he and his wife moved to Sun City, Arizona in 1977. Since then he taught Spanish for five years at Rio Salado Community College and for about sixteen years at the College of Extended Education of ASU (formally Sun Cities Center for Lifelong Learning at Arizona State University). He was a volunteer instructor in Spanish conversation for the Circulo Espanol and was President of that organization for two years. Other volunteer activities included tutoring at the Dysart Community Center and recording Spanish textbooks for the Recording for the Blind organization.

Bill is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Mary K. Rodgers, nephew, Daniel Miller and cousin, Jack Helm.

A Mass will be celebrated at 11AM on Saturday, March 9th, 2013 at St. Elizabeth Seton catholic Church, 9827 Palmeras Dr., Sun City, AZ 85351.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. Vincent de Paul, Hospice Family Care or a charity of your choice.


  • Mass Saturday, March 9, 2013


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February 27, 2013

Mary, My love and prayers. Ed and I had some good and interesting times with you and Bill.thanks for the memories.
your cousin,
Rita Domke