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William Allen Rodger, Sr.

August 11, 1961 ~ February 17, 2023 (age 61) 61 Years Old

Tribute

 

William (Will) Allen Rodger, Sr. passed away at the age of 61 on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, in Alexandria, VA, of glioblastoma.

Will was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on August 11, 1961, to Robert and Janet Rodger. He grew up in Cincinnati with his two older sisters Kate and Laura. After graduating from Cincinnati Country Day in 1979, Will earned a B.A. in history and economics from Northwestern University and an MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain.

Will married Elizabeth (Betsy) Neus on August 31, 1991, in Cincinnati, Ohio. They met through a mutual friend when both were 17, and were friends for many years until they started dating after college. Will and Betsy moved to Alexandria, VA, in 1992 when Betsy was transferred to the Washington bureau of Gannett News Service. Together, they have two children: William Jr. of Raleigh, NC; and Charlotte of Washington D.C. The Rodgers are long-time members of St. Rita Catholic Church in Alexandria, VA.

An award-winning communications, public relations and public policy strategist, Will was most recently principal of his own communications firm. Prior to that, he served as director of policy communications for the American Farm Bureau Federation, vice president for Raffetto Herman Strategic Communications, managing director for LMG Inc. and communications director/director public policy for CCIA. He received multiple national Public Relations Society of America awards, including one for public service for the Farm Bureau’s work raising awareness of the rural opioid epidemic.

He began his communications career as a reporter, writing for the Cincinnati Business Courier; Washington Technology; USATODAY.com, where he was among the first journalists to reveal the privacy implications of web cookies; and Interactive Week, where he covered the landmark Microsoft anti-trust trial.

An avid cyclist, Will commuted to work by bike daily for more than 30 years, and rode more than 3,000 miles per year. Will rarely let anything get in the way of his cycling, riding in rain and cold and dark – and even past a burning Pentagon and armed soldiers on 9/11 to retrieve Charlotte from daycare amid traffic gridlock.

More recently, he became a climbing enthusiast, spending time at Sportrock and climbing outdoor structures from Seneca Rocks in West Virginia to the Eden Park reservoir in Cincinnati.

Fluent in Spanish and German, he enjoyed traveling his wife Betsy to places where he could use his language skills, including Puerto Rico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Austria and Mexico. His final vacations included a trip to Austria and Hungary in June 2022, and Spain in September 2022.

Known and loved for his quick wit, his keen intelligence and his strong opinions, any conversation with Will was guaranteed to be lively and thought-provoking. A true news junkie who enjoyed deep debate on the day’s issues, he also loved all types of classical music (check out Elgar, Tavener, the Tallis Singers and anything baroque for faves) as well as meticulously brewed coffee and tea, high-end beer and expensive Scotch. Will enjoyed his role as the family chef both at home and when visiting extended family in Cincinnati at Christmas – a talent he’s passed on to William, Jr.

Will’s other love was Boy Scout Troop 131 of Alexandria, where he was a scoutmaster/assistant scoutmaster for more than 20 years. The troop posted a moving tribute to Will on its website which said, “He was instrumental in building up Troop 131 to the great program we enjoy today and was a wealth of Scouting knowledge which we all benefited from, especially the endless number of Troop 131 scouts he impacted. He will be greatly missed.” Will also earned the prestigious Wood Badge and Silver Beaver award, and served on Scout committees covering international scouting and conservation issues.

The Rodger family is beyond thankful for the support the Scout community provided during Will’s illness and since his passing. The assistance and ease they provided was immeasurable and greatly appreciated.

Will is survived by his beloved wife Elizabeth (Betsy) and his children William, Jr. and Charlotte; his sister Kate Lester and her husband Charlie; his sister Laura Flagg and her husband Rick; eight nieces and nephews; and 11 grand-nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents Robert and Janet Rodger.

The visitation will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 2-5 p.m. at Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home, 1500 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA. The funeral mass will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27 at St. Rita Catholic Church, 3815 Russell Road, Alexandria, VA, with a reception immediately following at St. Rita Parish Hall. Burial will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Ivy Hill Cemetery, 2823 King St., Alexandria.

Please make memorial donations to the Boy Scouts’ Colonial District, to which Troop 131 belongs; it’s part of the National Capital Area Council. Write “Colonial” in the District portion of the donation form to make sure Will’s Scouts benefit.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Allen Rodger, Sr., please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Sunday
February 26, 2023

2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home
1500 West Braddock Road
Alexandria, VA 22302

Funeral Mass
Monday
February 27, 2023

1:00 PM
St. Rita Catholic Church
3815 Russell Road
Alexandria, VA 22305

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