ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WDHN) — Hundreds gathered to mourn the passing of beloved longtime Alabama Educator Matt Rodgers. Those that were unable to attend were able to stream as friends and family paid their respects.

“He battled cancer with dignity, bravery, and courage,” Longtime friend Aaron Milner said.

Rodgers was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2021 but continued to work at Enterprise State Community College as president before his retirement in May. Before his passing, he asked his longtime friend to speak at his funeral.

“Two immediate emotions and feelings came about. First again I was honored, but second I was reminded that I am losing my best friend,” former Enterprise City Schools Superintendent, Aaron Milner said.

Rodgers is known as a lifelong educator serving as a teacher and coach at Zion Chapel High School, Andalusia High School, and Enterprise High School, where he served for 16 years in multiple roles.

Rodgers was instrumental in helping bring five new Boll Weevil teams to Enterprise State. Those teams opened up 50 scholarships for incoming Boll Weevil athletes.

His family says that Matt loved others and lived for the opportunity to serve people in his community.

“It is my simple hope to honor him by describing to you what a great friend, husband, father, and brother Matt was,” Milner said.

“What a gift he was to our church, what a gift he was to this family, what a gift he was to this community, education system, and to individuals,” Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of Enterprise, Dr. Ben Bowden said.

And Thursday, the community got to love Rodgers’ family and serve them.

“Some of you may still be wondering where were you God why didn’t you heal him,” Dr. Bowden said. “The reality is that he did heal, just not in our way.”

Any donation received today at the funeral went towards the Enterprise State Community College Foundation for the President Matthew D. Rodgers scholarship.