Surrounded by her loving family, Cornelia Johnson Rodgers passed away peacefully on September 2, 2019. She was born in Chatham County (Hickory Mountain) to the late Iona Glover and Junius Pearle Johnson. She frequently referred to her childhood work as a child of tenant farmers as motivation to seek a better life. In 1948 she met a dashing young man whose military uniform made quite an impression. That soldier, returning from World War II, was Johnnie Robert Rodgers who would become the love of her life, and they would raise five children. At the age of 42, she returned to school and subsequently began work as a data processor and Departmental Librarian in the Department of Hospital Labs at UNC Hospitals. After retiring from that position, she began a whole new career as a home health aide. This was where she really excelled because she loved caring for others.
Cornelia lived most of her life in Siler City. She was a lifelong active member of Wesley Chapel Christian Fellowship Church. Where she was committed until it became impossible for her to continue. where she volunteered in a variety of organizations and institutions, including mentoring grade school students and fostering and financially supporting a child in Africa. She was passionate about and supported the NAACP both financially and through service. She held several positions, among them Secretary. In 1988 and 1993 she received the Excellence Award from the Chatham County Branch of the NAACP. She demonstrated a strong commitment to racial equality and inclusion. She was also active in the Chatham County Training School / Chatham High School Alumni Association for many years until she became unable to do so. Above all, she was a loving and protective mother whose favorite saying was “you are mine”. She will be remembered for her no non-sense approach to life, fried apple pies, love of crossword puzzles, business savvy and fastidious insistence on cleanliness which she instilled in her children. She loved traveling and in addition to long trips, she often took day trips by bus to different destinations in North Carolina.
Cornelia is survived by her five children, Rochelle (Johnny), Tony, Linda, Darrel (Angie) and Kenny (Shielda). She will also be fondly remembered by her 16 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
Family being served by Knotts and Son-Siler City.
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