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Iris Jean Forsyth Rodgers

Posted: Friday, Jan 4th, 2013


May 19, 1913 – January 1, 2013

Iris Jean Forsyth Rodgers, daughter of a pioneer Watsonville family, passed away at home on New Year’s Day. She was born in Santa Cruz in 1913, second daughter of Susan Williamson and William T. Forsyth, teacher and principal of Branciforte Grammar School. Her father died when she was 12, leaving her widowed mother to raise her and her sister Sarah. Like her mother, Iris was valedictorian of her high school class, going on to Stanford University where she graduated with distinction with a degree in Biological Science in 1935, then earned a teaching Certificate from University of California in 1936. She taught school for a few years in Dos Palos until her marriage in 1938 to a young Watsonville dentist, J. Arthur Rodgers. Together they built a home and raised six children.

She led a rich, multifaceted life, and was an inspiration for all who came to know her. Iris and Arthur enjoyed extensive travel from South Africa to South America, including the Galapagos Islands, to Alaska, and many destinations in between. They spent several vacations hiking in the Grand Canyon area, as well as many family camping trips to the Sierra. Iris’ interest in natural history was passed along to her children, grandchildren and many girl scouts.

Iris enjoyed gardening, planning & directing plantings right up to the end. She was also involved in her children’s schools, the library board, AAUW, PEO and the Presbyterian Church. She and Arthur were strong supporters of both Cabrillo College (especially its horticultural program) and the Elkhorn Slough Foundation from their inceptions.

Iris is survived by her children: Joe (Barb), Caroline of Watsonville; Bill (Carol) of Berkeley; Mike (Amy) of Pasadena; Jean (Roger) Ware of Lincoln, CA; Ann (Gary) Rutherford of Albuquerque; nine grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. Also survived by her niece, Sue Vildosolo; nephews, Jack Helms and John Ashcraft. Her husband of 65 years, Arthur, and granddaughter, Cathy Rodgers, predeceased her.

Her family thanks Safe at Home Senior Care and their caregivers, especially Karen, Marla, Diane, Connie, Dana and Lee, for the loving care they gave her for several years.

A memorial service will be held in Watsonville at a later date. Remembrances may be made in her name to Elkhorn Slough Foundation, Cabrillo College Foundation or the Presbyterian Church of Watsonville. Arrangements were entrusted to Mehl’s Colonial Chapel.

For the complete article see the 01-05-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-05-2013 paper.


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