Sept. 23, 2008

Herbert (Herb) Earl Rodgers, 77, of Peoria, Ill., formerly of Chillicothe and Galva, died Sept. 23, 2008 at home.

Born April 15, 1931, in Magnolia to the Rev. Austin A. Rodgers and Marie Blandin Rodgers, he married Annale Nelson on Nov. 29, 1952, in Kewanee. She died Dec. 25, 1998. He married Dori Benedict Dunbar Oct. 30, 1999. She survives.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1952, stationed in Germany.

He earned his bachelor's degree in 1956 and his master's degree in 1960 at the University of Illinois. He taught school in Galva for 35 years, from 1956 until retirement in 1991. During his career, he taught more than 2,100 children at four Galva schools, mostly in the fifth and sixth grades, but later as a high school industrial arts teacher.

He built and maintained a community ice-skating rink in Galva's Wiley Park each winter for 36 years, and was named the city's Citizen of the Year in 1995.

He was a founding member of the OnDaGo Campers club in the 1960s. He was proud of his family, and in the last few years of his life he worked diligently to raise national awareness of his late brother's leadership role in the development of stealth technology during the Cold War. (Dr. Franklin Rodgers developed radar-defeating technology for the CIA's first stealth spy plane in the late 1950s, but it remained a military secret until it was only recently de-classified.)

Also surviving are five sons: Richard (Teri) of Sterling, Dirk (Kathy) of Moline, David (Kathy) of Blue Grass, Iowa, Randall (Angie) of Bellevue, Iowa, and Robert of Chatham; two stepdaughters, Pam Hennessy of Peoria, and Caron Stratton of Chillicothe.; one stepson, Jeffrey Dunbar of Chillicothe; 15 grandchildren; eight step grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; six step-great-grandchildren; one sister, Lydia Gallup of Highlands Ranch, Colo.; one brother, Gerald of University Park; and his stepmother, Velma Rodgers of Springfield.

He was preceded in death by  two brothers, Franklin and Kenneth Rodgers.

Memorial services will be at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5 at First United Methodist Church in Chillicothe. The Reverend Ted Mitchell will officiate. Cremation will be accorded and burial of ashes will be at Galva Cemetery at a later date.

Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Chillicothe or to Rescue 33. 

Online condolences may be made to the family at