Roger J. Rogers
Roger Joseph Rogers, died peacefully September 28, 2013 at the blessed age of 92, surrounded by his four children, Mark, Cindy, Jennifer, Becky and his beloved wife of sixty-four years, Sarah. Roger is a believer in the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, and the promise of heaven, so rather than say he has departed, we announce, he has arrived!
Roger was born February 24, 1921 in Goldsboro, NC, the son of Charles Wesley and Ada Belle Flood Rogers. He was the third son of five children, four of whom served in the four branches of service during WWII: Army, Navy, Air-Force, Marines. Roger was a Navy man and was in Pearl Harbor serving as a Cryptanalyst and was part of the Communications Intelligence crew who worked on breaking the Japanese code.
Upon his return from Pearl Harbor, Roger was commissioned by the Navy to continue his education and attended schools wherever he was stationed. He attended eight universities in all, and his main course loads included Engineering and Journalism. Even though he never attended any school for very long, he managed to be the President of his College fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha at Depauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. This was his favorite educational stint and the fodder for many stories.
Once he met Sarah Lillian Clifton, “a farm girl” as he called her, from Faison, NC, Roger married and transitioned into civilian life and concentrated on his growing family. His Journalism studies were put to good use as he soon became Regional Publications Officer for the Southeast Regional Office of the National Park Service.
His Park Service years were full and adventurous. His duties encompassed writing and editing natural history handbooks, archeological source books and assuring editorial quality of cooperating associations in the Southeast Region. His work included visiting all of the National Parks in the region and planning special events, ceremonies, and landmark dedications. What this meant for Roger’s wife and four children was “road trips” – lots of them, camping in the mountains, black bear sightings, and outdoor explorations.
Roger was also quite the thespian; usually rehearsing or performing in local community theatre including the Barksdale Theatre in Richmond. His most memorable performances were in Mr. Roberts, Gideon, Our Town, Twelve Angry Men, Tobias and the Angel and Scrooge, where he played the memorable lead role.
An active member of every church he has attended, Roger was the first treasurer of Dayspring Retreat Farm, a mission of the Church of the Savior in Washington, DC back in the 1950’s. More recently, Rogers was Deacon of Mechanicsville Baptist Church where he and his wife, Sarah, worship and have been members for more than ten years. His church family has become true family, and remains touched by Roger’s spirit and life.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to Anne Braxton, who was Roger’s overnight CNA, The many students from University of Virginia’s nursing program who visited Roger on a regular basis, Hospice of the Piedmont and the kind helpers at Hospice House of Charlottesville, and especially to our Lord whose perfect timing in all the details of the past months has been an immense comfort.
Preceding Roger in death was his youngest brother Ken (Millie) his older brother Charles (Trudy) his only sister Mary Spain (George) and his middle brother Ed (Betty) and eleven month old great-grandson Seth Erkel.
Roger leaves behind his loving wife Sarah Lillian Clifton Rogers, son Mark Clifton Rogers and his wife Mariah (Nellysford, VA) daughter Cynthia Erkel and her husband Michael (Afton, VA) daughter Jennifer Ornduff and her husband Michael (Gordonsville, VA), and daughter Rebecca Nelson and her husband Durrell (Lynchburg, VA).
He leaves behind grandchildren William Joseph Rogers, Eric Erkel(wife, Megan), Ethan Erkel (wife, Chrish), Rebekah Erkel Musser(husband, Will), Sarah Catherine Grace (husband, Brenden), Evan Erkel, Elliot Erkel, Mary Elizabeth Erkel, Joanna Genevieve Erkel, Joseph Bennett Nelson, Anthony Ryan Nelson, Sabrina Lee Nelson, Lily Anne Sophia Nelson.
His great-grandchildren include: Jeff, Jason, Luke, Isabella, Gabe, Liam, Elijah, Jasmine, Joshua, and Isaiah—all Erkels, Brielle Grace, Isaac, Ivan and Catherine Musser.
Roger’s dear friends and family anxiously wait to reunite with him in God’s perfect timing.
The Funeral and Celebration of Life Ceremony was held Saturday, October 5th at 11:00am at Mechanicsville Baptist Church, Gordonsville, VA 22942. Reception at the church to follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Mechanicsville Baptist Church Building Fund, 10200 Louisa Rd. Gordonsville, VA 22942.