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Farragut mourns first Town attorney, Rodgers

David Rodgers and wife, Marty, attend a town of Farragut banquet in 2007.- File photo
David Earl Rodgers, Farragut’s first Town attorney and one of the Town’s greatest advocates for incorporation in 1980, passed away Monday, Oct. 25.

“David was a good friend and a great tactician when it came to our efforts to incorporate, and he kept me on the straight and narrow when I strayed,” Mayor Ralph McGill said in a statement.

“If not for David Rodgers, there would be no town of Farragut today. This passing is a great loss for us personally, and for the town of Farragut. He will be remembered for a long time,” he added.

Former Farragut Mayor Eddy Ford said, “Dave was a great attorney for the town of Farragut and he was a great personal friend. A lot of the character of the town of Farragut — its firm footing in municipal government and its ordinances — are due to Dave’s wise counsel.

“He had a great way of interacting with people and a great way of digesting a situation. And then after thought, he would then give his opinion,” Ford said.

“David Rodgers was one of the best friends I ever had and one of the finest lawyers I ever knew,” Farragut’s first mayor, Bob Leonard, said.

Rodgers fought hard for the town of Farragut to exist and expand, and “was always helpful and always correct.”

“His wisdom and his ability were second to none, and I shall miss him greatly,” Leonard said.

“A man like David does not come along every day, that’s for sure,” he added.

Rodgers was a graduate of Emory & Henry College and Vanderbilt Law School, served in the U.S. Army JAG Corps for three years and then joined the Knoxville-based law firm of Kramer-Rayson, where he worked for the duration of his professional career. 

A statement from Kramer-Rayson and current Town attorney Tom Hale said, “David Rodgers had a very unique and remarkable legal career. There are very few lawyers who can honestly make the claim that their work resulted in the creation of a municipality, and even fewer who can say that their continued work defended the municipality’s very existence, while at the same time helping it develop the rules and procedures that make it a municipality.

“Yet there are even fewer still who, having done all that, can look around to see that the subject of their work has grown and flourished, during their own lifetime, into a place the likes of Farragut.

“David Rodgers is one of these very few. Dave was truly a force to be dealt with as a lawyer, and he always represented his clients the honorable and right way — with integrity and zeal. Beyond that, he was a wonderful family man, friend and partner — a humble man who had a positive influence on all who came in contact with him.”

Rodgers served as town of Farragut attorney preceding the Town’s inception until his retirement in 1999, and was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church.

Since returning to East Tennessee after leaving the Army, Rodgers was a member of Bearden UMC in Knoxville. 

David is survived by his loving wife, Marty; his sons and daughters-in-law, Michael and Stephanie Rodgers of Yorkville, Eric Rodgers of Apex, N.C., Tim and Laura Rodgers of Albemarle, N.C., and Andy Rodgers of Farragut; six grandchildren, his siblings, his sister-in-law and many nieces and nephews. 

“When I think of his character and personality, one of his sons the other night at Dave’s service said that his dad was not an idle talker. Whenever his dad talked, he was either going to say something very wise or very funny or a combination of wisdom and humor,” Marty said.

“And that was pretty true.”

“Dave had wonderful mediating qualities because he was very reasonable and reasoning, but always he tempered his reasoning with his gentle kindness. I consider that a significant trait that lots of people don’t possess when they get caught up in their own side of something,” she added.

“He was my everything and my beloved and my confidant and my friend. He was my intellect when my own failed. He was my partner,” Marty said.

Rodgers’ memorial service was held Friday, Oct. 29, at Bearden United Methodist with the Rev. Michael Sluder officiating. Graveside services were Saturday, Oct. 30, at Highland Memorial Cemetery off Sutherland Avenue.  

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to: American Cancer Society, Bearden United Methodist Church, Campus Crusade for Christ and the United Methodist Committee on Relief.


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