It’s not uncommon for a family to pay tribute to a beloved deceased member of their family by making a contribution to a favorite charity or non-profit. The Rodgers family, however, felt they needed to do more than that.

When their brother Bill passed away 15 years ago, his three sisters immediately sought to memorialize their brother by creating two scholarships for students at the school in Long Island where he taught. This seemed appropriate at the time, as the students & teachers at his school all still remembered him.

However, the sisters decided that after several years Bill would not be familiar to the student recipients, so perhaps it would be better to honor him through their own local communities. Since two live here in Culpeper, the decision was made to focus on local organizations that deliver meaningful service to the community. Each year the sisters discuss possible recipients and agree on one. This year SAFE (Services to Abused Families) was the fortunate recipient. The letter that accompanied their donation to SAFE inspires all of us to think beyond a one-time gift in honor of a loved one. Instead an annual remembrance helps to keep the memory of that special person very much alive!


Bill Rodgers was a son, brother, husband, father, uncle and a teacher. He was also a gifted artist and self-taught musician. He loved wood working and working on his motorcycle.

Family was very important to Bill. As the only son with three sisters, he was always on hand as a best friend and protector. His love and dedication to them earned him their love and lifelong adoration. Bill was an adventurer as a young man, but his fierce devotion to family always brought him back home.

His sudden passing devastated our family. In the months following his passing, our family began talking about how we could honor him and give back to the community in his name. We began by awarding two scholarships to students from the high school on Long Island where he taught for many years. After several years we decided to look at organizations in our community, where most of his family now lives.

To this day the loss is still fresh, even after 15 years, but his spirit will live in us forever!

Kathy Rodgers Kirk, Culpeper

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