Wayne Rodgers, 59, Essex college professor

September 08, 1997|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Services for Wayne H. Rodgers, a professor at Essex Community College and founder of the Baltimore Bicycling Club, were held Saturday in Westminster.

Mr. Rodgers, 59, was found dead of a heart attack near Mount Airy on Sept. 1., two days after he was last seen while on a 30-mile bicycle trip. He had told members of his group that he planned to return to his car because he was feeling ill.

A resident of Westminster, he was an associate professor of health and physical education at Essex Community College for 29 years. He taught cycling, first aid and safety, including the popular course "College on a Bicycle." He also coached soccer, gymnastics and track and field at the school.

"He lived and worshiped his cycling," said Frank Cutko, a retired Essex professor who knew Mr. Rodgers for 27 years. "That was his fanatical leisure time activity."

In 1967, Mr. Rodgers founded the Baltimore Bicycling Club and served as the group's first president. The organization has about 2,700 members.

"He was very well known, because he remained so active in the club," said Barbara Park, the club's newsletter editor. "He was one of the elder statesmen of the group."

Mr. Rodgers, who finished first last year in the 15-kilometer bicycling race at the Maryland Senior Olympics, had organized club bicycling trips in Alaska, the Canadian Rockies, New England, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Mr. Rodgers received his bachelor's degree in biology in 1962 from Pennsylvania State University, where he was an All-American soccer player. He earned a master's degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

He joined the Essex faculty in 1967 after teaching for two years at what was then Towson State College. Mr. Rodgers also was a missionary for two years in Puerto Rico, where he taught biology at the Robinson School in Santurce.

For many years, Mr. Rodgers was a member of Cowenton Volunteer Fire Department in Baltimore County, where he taught first-aid training courses. He was also an avid square dancer.

He is survived by his wife of five years, the former Shirley Simmons of Westminster; two daughters, Susan M. Rodgers and Rebecca D. Rodgers, both of the Baltimore area; a stepson, D. Steven Cascio of Eldersburg; two stepdaughters, Tammy K. Misener of Pasadena and P. Dawn Latimer of West Friendship; his father, Harold Rodgers of Telford, Pa.; and four step-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 9/07/97

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