Dana Bigelow Rodgers, Jr.

dana rodgers,

Dana Bigelow Rodgers, Jr., October 11, 1936 – September 27, 2023

We are saddened to announce the death of Dana Bigelow Rodgers, Jr., of Reston, Virginia, on September 27, 2023.

Dana was a loving husband to Sandra, father to Karen Ann Calpin (James) of Vienna, Jennifer Lee Anthony (Adam) of McLean, and Meredith Elizabeth Sutherlin (Chris) of South Riding, and grandfather to Colleen, Erin, Alden, Tobias, Nicholas, Emily and Evan. Dana was born on October 11, 1936, in Schenectady, NY, son of Dana B. Rodgers Sr. and Emma Katherine McCoord, and brother to Alden Van Vechten (deceased 1986) and Gilbert McCoord (surviving, married to Janet Rodgers). He grew up in Pittsford, NY and graduated from the University of Rochester in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in history. After graduation, Dana was a volunteer with the Peace Corps, joining in its inaugural year and serving in the Philippines. Upon return from the Philippines, he married Sandra Lee Richardson in March 1964, He then worked in various managerial roles for ACTION, now the Corporation for National and Community Service, and was selected into the first cohort of the Senior Executive Service.

To know Dana was to love him. He was an eternal optimist who always saw the good in every situation and in every person he met. Dana had a passion for history, geography (as reflected in his 75+ year library of National Geographic journals), and travel, and would respond with something new and interesting no matter what the question. His family was lucky to have joined Dana on numerous travels, including cross country road trips of the national parks, the pyramids of Egypt, and holiday vacations with his brother’s family in Boston, MA. Dana’s primary love was his family, and he brought much joy to his daughters and grandchildren with the gift of books, Silver Diner breakfasts, and his proud presence at countless games and performances. We are heartbroken to say goodbye, but thankful he is at peace.

A family burial service will be held in his hometown of Pittsford, NY at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please plant a tree in memory of a loved one (a Rodgers family tradition).

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  1. I worked directly with Dana at ACTION. He was brilliant and I learned something new from him everyday. We were a great team working in Domestic Operations. May he Rest In Peace.

  2. We always enjoyed seeing and talking with Dana at family gatherings.
    He was a kind and thoughtful man and it was obvious how much he loved his family.
    We’ll certainly miss you Dana❤️

  3. Highlights of a Wonderful, Kind, and Successful Life: Dana Bigelow Rodgers, Jr.
    October 11, 1936 – September 27, 2023 (86 years)
    (Recollections written by Gil Rodgers, brother)
    Leading a full, successful, and wonderful life involves multiple abilities and personal characteristics. Dana was a highly intelligent individual with an amazing memory for dates, places, political and government events — the type of partner you want on your Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit team. He had an affinity for travel and spent time in the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Scotland, Spain, Turkey, and Egypt. He was attached to his family and loved and was very proud of his children, their families, and his grandchildren. To the end of his life, he closely followed politics and governmental activities in the US and throughout the world.
    Dana was born in Rochester, New York on October 11, 1936 to mother, Emma Katherine McCoord Rodgers and father, Dana Bigelow Rodgers, and lived his childhood years in Pittsford, New York, a beautiful suburb of Rochester, New York. Dana was a very bright student with an exceptionally high IQ excelling in his classes enabling him to skip two grades and graduate in June, 1953 at just 16 years old. He then went to Syracuse University for two years and graduated from University of Rochester with a Bachelor of Science degree in History at age 24 in 1961.
    Peace Corps
    In 1961 Dana joined The United States Peace Corps, which was just getting started under President John F. Kennedy. Dana was assigned to the Philippine Islands (PI), a unique and lasting experience for him as his grandparents were missionaries there for 40 years and his Aunt Francis taught at Silliman University in Dumaguete, PI from 1917 to 1962. Dana spent two years teaching English as a second language to grade schoolers at Mindanao Island, and when traveling home, was able to spend time in Japan and South Korea. Dana served in several managerial roles at Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, DC, including as Acting Administrator of ACTION, the agency which contained the Peace Corps.
    In 1964 Dana married Sandra Lee Richarson, who was from Laguna Hills, California close to appropriately named “Dana Point.” Dana and Sandy are very proud of their three girls and their families (Karen and James Calpin, Jennifer and Adam Anthony, and Meredeth and Chris Sutherlin), and seven grandchildren (Colleen and Erin Calpin; Alden, Toby, and Nicolas Anthony; and Emily and Evan Sutherlin.) With neighbors, family, and friends, Dana would proudly share updates on the academic achievements, athletic accomplishments, occupations, travels, and professional responsibilities of his children and grandchildren.

    International Travels
    Seeing other parts of the world was very important to Dana. He travelled to his third great grandparent’s (James Rodger) original residence in Girvan, Ayrshire, Southern Scotland after visiting Edinburgh and St. Andrews with his daughters Jenny and Karen, and granddaughters Alden and Colleen. He traveled with his daughter Karen and brother Gil to Egypt, taking a boat voyage down the Nile River from the Aswan Dam to Cairo, and exploring one of the Wonders of the World, The Pyramids of Giza, riding by camel and while Gil rode by horseback.
    On another trip with Gil and his wife Jan, he visited several regions of Turkey, including Ankara; the deep, historically significant Cappadocia Caves of Central Turkey; then continuing on overnight by regional bus service to Izmir, and Istanbul, where he was fascinated by the numerous architectural and religious shrines and personally witnessing the important connection point between Europe and Asia. Sandra and Dana visited Janet and Gil in Spain on the Island of Mallorca, near Barcelona where they were living. Dana had a plethora of knowledge about these locations with detailed understanding of their geographies, histories, important cities, past and present leaderships, political and social foundations, economic and government systems, and upheavals and natural disasters.
    Final Days
    Until Dana’s final days he and Gil would have weekly telephone conversations, catching up on recent family news and often engaging in in-depth discussions about current events, politics, and governmental issues in the United States and around the world. After a battle with melanoma cancer, he passed away on September 27, 2023 in Reston, Virginia. His ashes will be buried in the Pittsford Cemetery, Pittsford, NY near his mom and dad, and other members of the Rodgers and McCoord families. Dana led a very rich, knowledgeable, loving, and wonderful life. He delivered to his family the curiosity and confidence to thoughtfully yet kindly address all the challenges that they may encounter in their lives.
    Love, Gil

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