Eileen lived and fully enjoyed her 99 years on this earth. Born Eileen Virginia Parran on February 21, 1923, to Emory Milton (Milt) Parran and Ruth Fairbanks Parran of Baltimore, Maryland, she died quietly and peacefully on May 6, 2022 in Winter Springs, Florida.
A vivacious beauty, she was popular in school as a young woman. She dated several young men, but John David Rodgers was irresistible. They fell deeply in love and married on March 22, 1945. Their marriage lasted 70 years until his death in 2015.
She became a registered nurse and proudly served in the Cadet Nurse Corps during WWII, stationed in Dallas, Texas. Jack served there as a pilot as well as a flight instructor in the US Navy. After the war, he attended medical school, opening his private practice in Erie, Pennsylvania. Eileen, as the office manager, was his partner. They had three children, all of whom survive her, David Parran Rodgers, Ruth Rodgers Travis and Linda Rodgers Palumbo. Later, the family moved to North Palm Beach, Florida, where Eileen again aided in establishing Jack’s practice, in Anesthesiology. Eileen always made a caring, comfortable, and loving home for her family, exercising a good dose of common sense when needed. She was happily the grandmother of four and great grandmother of five, whom she impacted by teaching them they could achieve their dreams. She is also survived by a younger sister, Sara Strotbeck and her children’s partners Linda R. Rodgers, Neil Atkinson, and Robert Palumbo. Another sister, Susan Manley, predeceased her. Yeenie, as she was nicknamed by her sisters, cherished her entire family and made an impact in all their lives. And just by being who she was, she influenced them in ways they may never know.
When we think of Eileen, we think of her endless ability to love unconditionally, her effervescent personality with a quick smile on her face that lit up every room she entered, and in concrete measure, her multiple artistic talents. She was passionate about art as well as being very talented. This led her to study art formally. She proudly created beautiful oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings and ceramics for the enjoyment of others. She was also a gifted craftsperson, embroidering, knitting and crocheting numerous handsome items including attractive sweaters and bonnets for each of her great-grandchildren. She made jewelry, sewed clothing and upholstered many unusual items. A fashionable woman, who appreciated good style in everything, she created a well-designed home and was always dressed beautifully wherever she went.
While she had an inner strength that enabled her to stride through life’s obstacles confidently, Eileen always thought beyond herself. She was spiritual, loved her Lord, and attended church devotedly. She combined her artistic talents with her religion by serving on the Altar Guild in her church until she was no longer physically able to arrange flowers.
She had an expansive and inquisitive mind. She enjoyed reading, a good joke and wit. There were countless friends who came to share her energy and laugh about life experiences. She played a hearty round of golf with enthusiasm, loved to bowl, and enjoyed playing card games with her friends. She played a wicked hand of bridge and even beat her caregivers at gin rummy in her final weeks. Living on a horse farm for many years, she was captivated by their Appaloosas, eventually becoming Secretary of the Florida Appaloosa Club. Because Jack owned and often flew his own plane, she learned to fly. She sang and danced at every opportunity and enjoyed attending the theater, especially Broadway shows.
Eileen loved to entertain. Often preparing expansive feasts, she was generous and organized. Everyone appreciated her charm and gourmet talents, and even though she said Jack was the life of her parties, she was the heart of them. She was especially appreciated by the family for her holiday celebrations. She prepared exotic game that Jack brought home, including pheasant and snook. It often served as the core of family feasts. She would cook all day, yielding what Jack called “sumptuous” meals. Her whiskey sours, often frozen, were as potent as they were famous.
Eileen had an unquenchable thirst for life and loved to travel. She experienced Hawaii, Alaska, and Europe, and she cruised widely, visiting major centers of art and culture. England was perpetually a favorite destination for her and Jack. She learned a bit of French and when the butcher she visited in France said that he was going on vacation, the phrase triggered her study of the language and she carried on a lively exchange with him, leaving both wreathed in smiles.
Living a life so full of varied experiences and rich in love, Eileen was always busy, enjoying life, friends, and family. Having lived a life most will only dream of, Eileen also left her mark on those she encountered. We remember and celebrate the love she brought into the world and the legacy of happiness and joy she leaves us.
We firmly believe that, just as when they were young, Jack waited for Eileen and welcomed her to heaven. Our task is to follow her example and live joyfully, compassionately and spiritually in her memory.