In Memoriam: Wayne Rodgers

NEWPORT BEACH — Boat broker and avid sailor Wayne D. Rodgers died, May 9, a little more than one month after his 70th birthday. His daughter, Elizabeth Rodgers Horan, and son-in-law, Nicolas Horan, survive him.

Rodgers was born in Philadelphia on April 4, 1948. He most recently operated his own firm, W.D. Rodgers Co., where he serviced boat-buying clients in Orange County.

The Log received the following narrative of Rodgers’ life from Bunker Hill:

“As a young man Wayne was in the boy scouts reaching the level of Eagle Scout. He attended Arcadia High School, played trumpet and walked in the Rose Parade twice. He was a graduate of UC-Santa Barbara and spent time after graduation coaching the sailing team. Wayne was an avid sailor making the Olympic Trials, Crossing the Atlantic to Portugal and Spain, sailing through the Bermuda Triangle, Cruising through the Virgin Islands, West Indies, competing in the Honolulu race (Transpac), Cabo Race, Puerto Vallarta Race along with races on the Great Lakes and throughout Southern California.

“As a younger man Wayne worked as a youth sailing director, Boy Scout counselor at Cherry Cove in Catalina, Catalina water taxi driver, hardware salesman [and] boat builder (Star Boats).

“But known to most of us a yacht broker. He started his career selling yachts in Santa Barbara; his style, class and integrity caught the eye of crew at Ardell Yachts in Newport Beach.   “Having a successful run at Ardell, after 17 years he started his own firm, W. D. Rodgers Co., where he continued to represent his clients with a level of professionalism and integrity rarely seen in the industry.

“Wayne always enjoyed a good sea story, talking about your kids or his own, a good joke, some local gossip, but when it came to business, his focus and detail were well above the industry standard.

“Outside the marine business Wayne enjoyed music from old school rock and roll to the symphony, reading, cooking, entertaining friends and long walks around Newport Beach, Crystal Cove, Balboa Island and the Balboa Peninsula.”

A celebration of Rodgers’ life is in the works and will likely take place during the summer; details will be released from the family as soon as arrangements are made.

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7 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Wayne Rodgers

  • Dean West

    The recreational boating community has lost a true gentleman and a top-tier broker. Wayne was the consummate professional, a worthy competitor, a friendly confidant, and an industry contributor. Wayne’s chairing of the California Yacht Brokers Association (CYBA) Annual Legal Seminars led to several year’s worth of informative, thought provoking, and instructional symposiums that benefitted brokers and salespeople, and served to raise the professionalism of the entire recreational boating industry. Wayne always had time to talk with you, and to tell a good story or two. There are few in our brokerage industry, and few in the Newport Beach community, that will be missed more than this good man. Smooth seas and fair winds, old friend.

  • Pingback: Godspeed to SoCal’s Wayne Rodgers | SoCal Sailing News

  • Jack Nigg

    Sailed many races with Wayne over the 40 plus years we were friends. He was a man of great integrity and a wonderful friend on land and sea .

    • Garry Kief

      Wayne and I spent quite a few summers working together at the Scout camp in Cherry Cove. Man….did we laugh. Long hours, falling asleep on our feet, and 250 fresh faces every Saturday morning that tried the patience of the most gentle souls. And that was Wayne. Week after week…same smile, same kindness, and same unending desire to teach kids the beauty of the water and the magnificence of sailing. And yes, when I was about 16…he taught me. I look back now and laugh about the day we dumped a Sunfish at the Isthmus. All our friends who worked driving water taxis and as county lifeguards laughingly watched as we struggled for half an hour trying to right our boat. As they circled us in their boats they burst into applause. Which made it even worse. I’ll hold that memory forever. So now it’s time my friend to sail on. I hope your journey is as peaceful as the peace you brought to so many others. Chief Lakaoia will be waiting. Unk.

  • Nancy Dieudonne

    Wayne was my neighbor My friend,the person I confided in,the person that I listened to his massive collection of music, the person that I danced with for hours in his living room, the person that I trusted the person who inspired me to sail, the person who recommended going to Barnados, the neighbor who always left jis door open and invited me in to eat with him (he fed me alot ) I loved how much he loved his daughter Liz. He was always sso excited for her visits He even welcomed her friends My heart is sad I love you Wayne Rogers and I will miss you Nancy

  • Kim Sailors-Ray

    Just seeing this today, 6/16/20; was reminiscing & decided to look up some remembrances starting with Ardell Yachts where I was the receptionist in the early 70s…Dennis the manager, Jimmy, Tom, Rick, Henry; but couldn’t find Wayne my old friend…spent many days talking, listening to his stories, happy hour memories, visiting with him & him playing his music, him cooking, our amazing Ardell Christmas parties, sailing, so many memorable times. Wayne was truly a gentleman. Be at peace.
    If anyone ever wants to connect 650-353-1640 or

  • JimHoey

    Wayne, may the breeze always be downwind! You will be missed.


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