Ursula Ruth (Budde) (Rearden) Rodgers
Ursula Ruth (Budde) (Rearden) Rodgers, 88, died Dec. 26, 2013, at a rehabilitation facility near Petaluma, Calif. Her son, Jim Rearden, was at her side.
Ursula was born May 28, 1925, in San Francisco, Calif., to Adolf Budde and Florentina (Gaidzik) Budde. She was raised on chicken ranches in the
Petaluma area and graduated from Petaluma High School in 1943. That fall, she married her high school sweetheart, Jim Rearden, in Bremerton, Wash., where he was serving in the USN.
During the war, Ursula was a third-class electrician at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, overhauling instruments like compasses and Selsyn motors. In 1950, Ursula, Jim and two daughters moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where she gave birth to a son; in 1956, they moved to Homer, Alaska, where they built a large log home and two more children, a daughter and a son, arrived. Ursula worked at Homer City Hall, and she and Jim were divorced in 1966.
Ursula returned to Petaluma in 1965, where she lived for the rest of her life. She married Arnold Rodgers, a widowed father of three. They visited their Alaska families many times, and traveled to Europe and Hawaii. They loved camping in their trailer at the coast near Bodega Bay.
From early childhood, Ursula was a nurse at heart. At age 54, she achieved her lifelong dream by earning her LVN diploma. Involved with Petaluma Health Services, she helped improve conditions in nursing homes. Later, as president of PHS, she was instrumental in establishing the Rapaport Scholarship program for nursing school students; she continued to help pick the recipients until her death.
Ursula was a long-time volunteer for Hospice of Petaluma at Sack’s Thrift Shop and as a nurse at the free clinic. She was a member of the United Church of Christ for many years. She hated homelessness, and being involved with these organizations was her way of helping less-fortunate people. Loving people young and old, she welcomed all with an open heart. She always kept her youthful, playful, free spirit alive, and people were drawn to and loved her. She loved storms and loved to read, work in her yard, watch the birds at her feeder, visit with friends and spend time with her family.
Ursula is survived by her sister, Lucille Battison of Petaluma; her children, Kathy Rearden of Eureka, Calif.; Mary Bookman (Bruce) of Anchorage, Alaska; Mike Rearden (Nita) of Homer; Nancy Kleine (Ken) of Homer; Jim Rearden of Petaluma; Arnie Rodgers, Jr. (Janice) of Santa Rosa, Calif.; David Rodgers (Mary) of Santa Rosa; special friends Cindy Piezzi of Petaluma, and Ed and Pam Shriver of Santa Rosa.
She is survived by 20 grandchildren: Stephen Vanek (Lisa) of Yacolt, Wash.; Teague Vanek (Betsy) of Homer; Heather Gilchrist (Joe) of Eureka; Jason Bookman (Renae), Steven Bookman (Lea), Alexander Bookman (Gabriella) all of Anchorage; Stefan Rearden (Devki) of Anchorage; Spencer Rearden (Katie) and Sarah Jung (Eric) of Bethel; Sterling Rearden of Anchorage; Darius Kleine and Lydia Kleine of Homer; Haley Rearden and Sam Rearden of Petaluma; Aaron Rodgers of Santa Rosa; Jessica Heath (Terry) of Florida; Chad Rodgers (Kim) of New Jersey; Kendra Gish (Bryan) of Oregon; Melissa Carlson (Brad), and Nicholas Shriver (Amanda) all of Santa Rosa. Ursula is also survived by 26 great grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Arnold Rodgers, her brother, Lucky Budde, step-daughter Peggy Ann Shriver and grandson Erik Bookman.
Ursula’s and Arnold’s ashes will be scattered together in places that were special to them. A memorial will be held at a future date.
John L. Birgel
John L. Birgel died Jan. 1, 2014, at Alaska Regional Hospital, at the age of 59. He was born in Ohio on Jan. 8, 1954. John resided in Homer with his wife Patricia and stepdaughter Kayla Frances.
A celebration of life service will be held on his birthday, Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 5:30 p.m. by his church family at the Christian Community Church in Homer at 3838 Bartlett Street. It will be officiated by Tim Steiner.
John moved to Homer in 2011, where he met Patricia who had recently relocated from Mississippi. He said, “he had to come all the way across the world to meet the love of his life.” The two were married July 2013, when John was also blessed with a stepdaughter, Kayla. John spent much time with Kayla when he was off work due to a work-related injury. He shared his love of cooking with Kayla and taught her to cook.
John had his first job on a boat at the age of 18. His mother said he has “been on a boat ever since.” He spent many years squid fishing in California on one of two boats he built by himself from scratch. He worked most recently as a boat captain Alaska. He also loved to hunt hogs in California and was an avid sport fisherman. He served in the National Guard.
John won his first battle with leukemia in 2003 at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in California, where he is still fondly remembered. John was always ready to lend a helping hand and give all that he could to others in need.
John’s family and friends are comforted to know that he is home with Jesus now. He passed away peacefully in the arms of his wife after experiencing complications from chemotherapy. Most of his ashes will be scattered by friends in his favorite fishing hole in Anacapa Island, Calif. The remainder will stay with his wife in an urn that resembles the angel on a stone John bought for her during his last hospital stay.
John is survived by his wife, Patricia Birgel and stepdaughter Kayla Frances of Homer; parents Don and Linda Birgel of Gladwin, Mich.; brother David Birgel of Gladwin, Mich.; and his two dogs Princess and Precious that reside with his family in Homer.
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