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In memoriam: Robert Rodgers

14 May 2010

SPIE mourns the passing of Past President Robert Rodgers, who died on May 10, 2010, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington, at the age of 83.

Rodgers served as SPIE President from 1961 to 1962. During this important time in the Society's early history, he presided over membership of SPIE reaching 1,000; the establishment of the George W. Goddard Award to recognize exceptional achievement in optical or photonic instrumentation for aerospace, atmospheric science, or astronomy; and the launch of the official Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers Journal. As Immediate Past President in 1963 Rodgers laid the groundwork for SPIE's first technical seminar-type conference and the first official proceedings, on image enhancement.

Rodgers attended SPIE Optics + Photonics in 2005 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Society. He also wrote a lengthy article for the Society's 50th anniversary celebratory book: From Photography to Photonics—50 years of SPIE.

In the piece, he reminisced about the important relationships he forged as a Fellow of SPIE. "My life was deeply affected personally by the people I met and those with whom I worked," he said. "Many of the key members during this period in SPIE's development were real heroes. Many labored without any public notice. Everyone worked unselfishly. They volunteered long hours at the expense of a leisurely life with loving wives and families who were 'widowed' in the interest of the 'higher calling.' I was extremely fortunate to have associated with some great people who shared their energy to achieve gains during those crucial times. These were the important growing experiences of transition for the newly created photo-oriented technical Society and its members. An active sense of humor is still the essential glue that holds people like this together."

He is survived by his wife of nearly 64 years, Marie Rodgers, three children, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Read the complete obituary

Photo caption: Lincoln Endelman, Rodgers, Richard Councilman (SPIE's first President), and Dick Freeborg relax in the "Founders Lounge" at Optics+Photonics during the 50th anniversary of the Society.