Lee Rodgers

I’ll make this short. Not because I don’t have a lot to say, but because I know he would not approve. I lost a good friend this week. Lee Rodgers died the way he lived. He went out swinging, giving it everything he had, surrounded by an audience (this time doctors and nurses), with his entertainer’s sense of humor still on display.

I’m sure there will be those who report on his death who will label Lee as controversial. Well, his job was to be provocative and on his side of the political spectrum, that draws lots of fire. It is true, Lee did not suffer fools. He was an incredibly hard-working man with a jeweler’s sense of perfection about his craft. He viewed any lesser effort by those around him with disdain. His professional success is a tribute to his work ethic.

Of course, there was also Lee the husband. He always referred to his wife Susan as “his bride.” On those occasions when my wife and Susan would be out together, I’ve rarely heard a man speak so lovingly and affectionately about his wife as Lee did of Susan. After his long illness two years ago, my wife Trisha and I went to visit Lee and Susan at their home in Arizona. As we were sitting out under the stars one night, in the middle of the conversation, Lee leaned forward and said, “You know, there are few people in this world who can actually point to someone and say that person saved my life. But (pointing at his wife), Susan saved my life.” And he meant every word of it. The fact is, Susan was everything to Lee. And the feeling was mutual. Susan cared for him, supported him, worked tirelessly behind the scenes, but mostly, she loved and fought to protect him.

Personally, I’m going to miss a great friend. I will always take pride in knowing that twice, I was actually able to make Lee laugh so hard he fell over on his side. Of course, once was easy because he had just broken three ribs. Fact is, we had a lot of common interests. Travel, flying, media, politics, sports, were all part of our conversations and he had them all covered in spades. Our most common bond was humor and we shared some truly fun times. I enjoyed every minute I ever spent with Lee. 

It would be foolish to think you can sum up someone’s life, especially someone like Lee, with mere words and I won’t try. You can, however, express your admiration, love, and respect. So Lee, let me say, you are one of the most interesting and fascinating people I have or will ever meet, and I’m going to miss you. More than ever I’m hoping there truly is another side because I know there are a lot more good times and laughs to be had.