(Sept. 28, 2004)
Lyle Edward Rodgers, 83, of Billings, Mont., died early Tuesday, Sept. 28 at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings with his son, Lyle Rodgers of Powell, at his side.
He was born June 20, 1921, in the sandhills of southwest Carbon County, Mont., between Red Lodge and Joliet, the son of Charles E. and Ethel I. Rodgers. The family moved to Laurel, Mont., when he was 2 years old.
A cowboy at an early age, he raised horses during his growing up years, and with his best friend and schoolmate, Jiggs DeNittis, rode horses all over the rural Laurel countryside.
He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1941, serving in the South Pacific Theater of World War II. While on leave on June 20, 1943, he married Doris Ellen Gunter in Laurel.
After the war, they built a home in Laurel. To this union, a son, Lyle Earl Rodgers, was born.
The father and son Lyles were fishing and hunting buddies, and Lyle, Sr. spent many hours and weekends coaching Little League Baseball. Lyle and Doris divorced in 1968.
He worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad for a short time and for International Harvester Co. for 30 years until the business closed shop. He then moved to California in 1979 and was employed by McDonald Douglas Aircraft Co. for 10 years. He found great enjoyment working at Douglas and took pride in building DC-9 aircraft.
He married Helen Logan in Billings in September of 1982, and they later made their home in Billings.
Lyle was known to many as "Abe" as a look-alike of President Abe Lincoln, and he enjoyed playing the role.
He was fond of making toys and other wood projects and was well known for his "tinman" and buckboard wagons. He cherished time spent hunting and fishing and riding his horse in the mountains west of Powell.
He was a member of the Billings Amputee Club and a coffee group that met regularly at Elmer's in Billings.
Survivors include his wife Helen; son Lyle Earl (Cheryl) Rodgers of Powell; a stepson, Stanley Logan of Billings; grandson Mike Rodgers of Yuma, Ariz.; granddaughter Kristi Rodgers (Toby) Bonner of Powell; and grandson Justin Logan, granddaughter Adrienna Hines and great-grandson Cale Hines, all of Helena, Mont. He is also survived by one brother, Charles (Shirley) Rodgers of Laurel; one sister Evelyn (Lloyd) Linger of Molt; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles E. and Ethel I. Rodgers.
Cremation has taken place, and memorial services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 at Smith West Chapel, 304 34th St. West, Billings. Burial of cremains will be in the veterans section of the Laurel Cemetery.
For those who wish, memorial contributions to the Shrine Children's Hospital Transportation Fund, P.O. Box 20673, Billings, MT 59104 would be appreciated by the family.