LaJune Rodgers (deceased)


Patton Team Photo: (Bottom Row L to R: Harry Hauck Jr., Laura Frost, Mark Manrique, Linda Foster, Unknown, Barbara Foster; Top Row L to R: John Savinsky, LaJune Rodgers, Ed Picard, Lee Davis, Tom Sullivan, Carl Boyd, Harry Hauck, Dennis Manrique, Monty Blashill, Rick Skarbo, Scott Blashill, Ron Boyd, Jim McNairy) c.1962


From Tom Sullivan:
LaJune was considered one of the mainstays on a team that was roughly divided into regulars and those who worked out infrequently.  Working hard was an ethic for LaJune apart from her accomplishments.  You got the feeling that it was a matter of character day in and day out for her as much as it was a road to success.  That said, results were very important to her, I think, and she measured herself by them with quiet pride.  I never heard her boast or even joke about winning, and her celebrations were apt to be short and limited to a spontaneous smile.

There was never any question that she was friendly, accepted and loved.  You just thought of her as someone who earned respect by being quiet and honest as much in what she did as what she said.  If LaJune came to the starting blocks in a meet or on a relay, it always brought forth a cheering section on the team.  You wanted her to win, and she didn't have to say it to let you know she was on your side.  She took nothing away from other people, never complained or said anything that marked her as negative or judgmental.

I remember her best from relays.  She always seemed to come up to those performances with a little something extra, and I took that to mean it was important to her to contribute to a group.  Given her quiet demeanor elsewhere, maybe that was an omission she felt.  I think there were some who thought she was shy and perhaps self-conscious because she was the only black girl on that team at the start, but I think that was just LaJune.  She was very guarded, and that came off as classy and elegant.  I thought she was hard on herself.  On the other hand, it's hard to picture a LaJune who wouldn't take herself too seriously, because that was the source of her motivation.

From Jennifer Parks:
LaJune was about my age, I'm pretty sure.  When we swam at meets in Detroit, we hugged and laughed and just had a great time together.  Lynn Makkonen would probably know best.  She was strong, pretty fast and I will always remember her. Would love to know how her life went, if you know any more!   So sorry to hear about her death. She was a good person.

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