Jasper Roderick

In 1888, eighteen year-old Jasper Roderick moved from New York with his parents and two brothers to Eagle River looking for new opportunities after having moved from Canada to New York, from New York to the Dakota Territory, and from the Dakota Territory to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Jasper, or Jap as he was known to his friends, was a true jack of all trades and demonstrated his many talents in his vast career. In Eagle River, he ran a furniture store, owned many different businesses including a barbershop, pool hall, movie house, restaurant, taxi-cab service, launch-service and tavern, and served as town undertaker until he sold his undertaking business in 1918 to P.J. Gaffney. Jap served as the town fire chief from 1901 to 1904 and as under-sheriff for Sheriff Frank Hall for many years. His career matched the development of Eagle River, and he likely witnessed much change in the town over his lifetime. Several of the early pictures that the Eagle River Historical Society has of town feature Jap, his family, or one his many business ventures.

On June 2, 1897, he married Catherine Cunningham, also known as Katie, of Berlin, Wisconsin. They had three children Arthur, Bernard, and Delia. The remained married until her death in 1917. Their home was located where the Olson Library now stands. After Katie’s death, Jap married a widow, Sadie Van Rossum, in 1924. Jasper Roderick died on March 2, 1947 at the age of 87.

Jap and Katie Roderick’s son Arthur remained in Eagle River. He married Opal Tester in 1927. They had six children: Alyne, Thelma, Markie, Jackie, John, and Tom. Arthur owned a pool hall, and Opal ran Jasper Roderick’s restaurant. The family was able to save their money from the 1929 Panic, with their saving constructed their dream home on the corner of Loon Lake Road and Pine Street. The family attended Eagle River Grade and High School until the family moved to California in 1951. Arthur Roderick died in 1957, and Opal Tester Roderick died in 1996

Jasper Roderick, in his early years, late 1800s.