Rodger was born on December 16, 1945, to Nell Smyth and Jack Edward Roosa of Uvalde, Texas. Rodger grew up adventuring the streets of Uvalde, where he began his lifelong pursuit of service to others. From a stray animal to a friend who had gone astray, Rodger would always put others before himself and many of those would become members of the Roosa family for life (you know who you are…Joey). Rodger was kind and generous with his time and resources and regardless of your status, he was always ready to lend a helping hand.
After graduating from Uvalde High School in 1963, Rodger continued his adventures beyond Uvalde. His stories from this time are sometimes referred to as his “outlaw” years. From the oil fields to the pool halls, and perhaps an occasional poker game, Rodger developed a reputation as a bit of a rebel and a gambler. Rodger also pursued his lifelong passion exploring for Indian artifacts and searching for the perfect arrowhead mound. While some would be surprised, this is the time that Rodger was developing his skills as a future business owner and real estate developer.
In 1972, Rodger, married his high school sweetheart, Mary Anna Buchanan, and eventually settled in Uvalde County. After working various jobs around Uvalde, Rodger began working for the Buchanan family at Neal’s Lodges and Dining. Rodger had a gift in the kitchen and Neal’s Cafe was a perfect fit where he was able to share that gift with so many. In 1985, Rodger, Mary Anna, Johnny Graves, and Carol Graves acquired Neal’s Lodges and Dining Room. Of the many “deals” that Rodger made in his life, this was one of his favorites.
Mary Anna and Rodger built a life anchored in Concan with their three children, Chase, Cathy, and Jo Anna. They grew Neal’s into a place that not only their family, but many families visit as a family tradition. Eventually, it would be family that led them into retirement from Neal’s. The grandkids, Anna Cate, Jack, Ellie, Westin, Mary Claire, Reed, and Chloe kept Rodger busy in retirement. Rodger was keen to pass on his love of adventure to his grandchildren. As “D-dad,” he adored them, and they adored him. He was happiest when they were around making him laugh, bringing joy and sharing their hugs.
Rodger was a great example living life without regret. He was fearless and never shied away from taking a risk. He had a passion for making a great deal. He was full of love for his friends and family and equally loved back especially by his children and grandchildren. For those of us who were fortunate enough to know him, it is obvious that he lived life his way…and he lived life right.
God bless you Rodger and congratulations on a life well-lived.
Rodger is survived by his wife of 49 years of Concan; two daughters, Cathy Brock and husband, Mike and Jo Anna Walker and husband, Derek; one son, Charles “Chase” Rodger Roosa, Jr.; stepson, Jeff Cook, brother, Richard Roosa, sister, Nell Louise Roosa; seven grandchildren, Ellie Roosa, Anna Cate, Westin Walker, Reed Walker, Jack Brock, Mary Claire Brock, and Chloe Brock.
He is preceded in death by his parents and brother, Jack Edward.
A graveside service will be held on Friday, May 6, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. at Concan Cemetery.
Donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the charity of your choice.
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