Emily Jane Mackey
Emily Jane Mackey, left this life very early on the morning of December 28th 2022 to meet her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and to be reunited with her husband, Jack Rodgers. She lived for 70 wonderful years and even to the very end she was a fighter and held on for as long as she could. She never gave up hope that she would overcome this latest health challenge too, like she had the other times in the past. She will be forever loved and missed.
Jane was born in Sylacauga, Alabama on January 20, 1952 to Thomas Jackson and Sybil W. Mackey. She was the middle child of three children. When her dad died, the family moved to Gainesville Florida for better educational opportunities and conveniently, right next door to our mothers cousin and best friend, The Dale’s who became like an extended family as we grew up.
Jane graduated from Gainesville High School in 1970, received her B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Florida in 1974 and received her B.A.S. Computer Systems degree from Florida Atlantic University in 1981. She worked entire career in computer software systems industry as Analyst/Programmer/Scientist and most recently as Sr. Software Engineer, retiring last February from Northrup Grumman after 26 years.
She met Jack A Rodgers in 1980 and they finally tied the knot and married on July 3, 2002. He preceded her in death on August 21, 2020.
Jane is survived by her brother Charles Kenneth Mackey (Marilyn) of Tyler, Texas, sister Sybil Lynn Sapp (Edward) of High Springs, Florida, and nephew Charles Jason Mackey, great niece Madeline Mackey and great nephew Max Mackey all of Shreveport, Louisiana. Sister in law, Claudia R. McCullough (David), of Franklin, Tennessee. Jane was preceded in death by her husband, Jack A. Rodgers, on August 21, 2022 her nephew, John Paul Mackey, in March 1993, her father, TJ Mackey on December 25th, 1960 when Jane was 8, her mother Sybil W. Mackey on February 8, 1971 when Jane had just turned 19 .
Jane was a selfless soul with a sense of duty, responsibility and love. After high school Jane attended Western Carolina University with one of her best friends ready to conquer the world with independence, enthusiasm and adventure. However, after only finishing her first college semester and returning home for Christmas break, she knew she needed to return home for good to help care for her sick mom and be there for her younger sister. Two months later her mom died from breast cancer. That passion of caring for others and sense of duty continued throughout her life.
Jane, like our mother was a life long voracious reader and studious learner of many things, especially the Bible. Jane read her bible and daily devotional faithfully, wrote in her journal and applied those teachings to her day so as to continue to become closer to God. She enjoyed her various bible study groups and was very knowledgeable. Jane was a member of Calvary Chapel Melbourne and faithfully attended for many years up until her death. Jane’s faith and support of her church and the friends there were another group close to her heart.
Jane had relentless passion, enthusiasm, competitiveness while striving for success and excellence in her work and for whatever interest she took up – piano, ballet/dance lessons as a kid, crafts, house plants especially orchids as an adult. She took up quilting later in the middle of her life making many quilts for family and friends and babies. She and several close quilting friends formed an informal “We Be Quilters” group that have continued to meet once a month for over 25 years. She enjoyed sharing ideas and the camaraderie of show and tell with her friends to see what quilting project they were each working on. She enjoyed going to quilt shows taking pictures, collecting ideas and stashes of fabrics for future projects. She was kind and generous, not only in gifts but of her time for others. When out shopping she would see something that reminded her of someone and she would buy it for them. It would make her happy. She would text, call or send a note in a card to let someone know she was thinking of them. Once she retired she and a friend joined an additional quilting circle making more new friends. She enjoyed having outings to go to and keep herself busy. Jane took up cooking in her retirement and seemed to enjoy it and trying new things.
Jane was fun to be around. She was funny with a quick wit and a quirky sense of humor. She enjoyed a good conversation and a laugh. Time spent with her would go by fast. It was comforting to know that Jane had surrounded herself with a network of such good friends and built a lifetime of friendships and good memories. Her love of good Swiss chocolate began when she was in high school and spent a summer in Europe taking classes, touring museums and countryside. She came home about 6 pounds heavier and our mom said that was the best money she had ever spent, since Jane was always a picky eater and always rail thin. Not sure if our mom suspected but the discovery of french wine may have played a part in the weight gain too!
Jane was a 25 year breast Cancer survivor and continued to be involved with Breast Cancer support groups. After her surgery she became a facilitator, mentor, supporter for F.A.M.E. (Friends After Mastectomy) group for many years. Jane always had special empathy in her heart and would reach out to offer words of encouragement and support to women diagnosed with breast cancer since her mother died from it and both she and her sister and close friends were breast cancer survivors.
Jane worked on Joint STARS program at Northrup Grumman as a Sr. Software Engineer. She was extremely knowledgeable in her work, dedicated, a good mentor for fellow team members on her team and a good technical lead. Her work ethic was exemplary. She enjoyed the challenges in her work but is was the relationships and friends with her supervisors and colleagues that were most important to her. They were like a second family to her. She continued to see and keep in touch with those longtime friends even after retiring. They were a source of encouragement and comfort when she had suffered some health issues the last few years.
Even though our parents died young we are forever grateful for their commitment to raising our family with a strong faith and belief in God and with a love, responsibility and a loyalty to each other that continues to be a strong bond today for the three of us.
Jane was a loving daughter and sister, a devoted wife, a loyal friend and dedicated coworker. She will be dearly missed. Even with all the accomplishments that Jane has had in her life, her faith, love of God, family and friends are what she should be remembered for because that is what was most important to her. Her kindness and love will not be forgotten by the many lives she has touched.
A celebration of life service will be held on Friday, January 27, 2023, at 11:00 am at Calvary Chapel Melbourne (CCM) located at 2955 Minton Rd, West Melbourne, FL 32904
Interment will be private and held at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery where her ashes will be placed with her husband. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jane’s memory to a charity of your choice or to Hospice of Health First, 1900 Dairy Road, West Melbourne, Florida 32904, who was so kind and supportive when Jane’s husband passed away.