There have been far too many occasion this year to note the before-their-time deaths of Springfield public figures, a list that includes political activist Alan Howard, Republican music writer Kevin O’Hare, New North Citizens Council Director Michael Denney and now former School Committee member Mike Rodgers.
The 53-year-old Rodgers died this weekend after what his obituary describes as a brief illness. In addition to his time on the School Committee, Rodgers was an active volunteer in the city schools; he also served for a time as chairman of the License Committee and had run for City Council in 2009.
Rodgers grew up in Hungry Hill, part of a generation of Irishman politicians that includes his friends Chris Collins, a member of the School Committee, and City Councilor Tim Rooke, both of whom offer fond remembrances of him in an article in yesterday’s Republican. Rooke described their relationship in terms that we all would be lucky to apply to our own friendships— “He would do anything for me. I would do anything for him.”—with this funny coda: “There were probably a lot of things we never should have done together.”
Rodgers his survived by his wife, two children, and an extended group of family and like-family friends. Contributions in his name are being welcomed to the Michael Rodgers Scholarship Fund, c/o Springfield School Volunteers, 1550 Main Street, 3rd Floor, Springfield, MA 01103.
Wake and funeral information can be found here.