Henry Charles Rogers, Jr.

December 31, 1919 - December 19, 2015

       

 

The Expert has left the building.  Born in Detroit, MI, to Laura Amelia (Hogue) Rogers and Henry Charles Rogers, Sr, on Dec. 31, 1919. Died December 19, 2015 in Port Hadlock, WA.   Henry’s almost century of life and uncanny ability to always be where the action was, made him a witness to history throughout his life.

 

Henry was raised in Dearborn, MI. in one of the first houses built by his contractor father for the burgeoning Ford Motor industry. His mother became widowed when Henry was 5 yrs. old and his mother scrambled to find employment and maintain the home.  Henry’s fascinating stories, and he had many, included those from Prohibition when Henry used to be paid a nickel for buying cigarettes for the prostitutes down at the local Speakeasy - until his mother caught him!  The little bird drawing that Henry often used in signing his name was originally a symbol hobos would draw in front of his house to let other hobos know that a good person lived there - someone with food and small job to do.  

 

Henry graduated from Fordson High School, Dearborn, MI in 1938 as Class President and Eagle Scout, and entered Wayne State University as a Drama Major.  His love of that era’s Big Band music led him to create the Henry Rogers Orchestra until the World War II draft depleted members to the military.  When Henry’s own draft notice arrived, he recalled his days as a Sea Scout to direct his own involvement. He heard about officer’s training to serve on the new Liberty Ships and was accepted into the newly formed United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY. His cadet training was largely “on-the-job”, as the war required numerous deployments on merchant ships. He graduated in 1943 and served with distinction until 1946, leaving the Merchant Marines with a rank of  LT. Commander, USMM.  It was his Academy training and command of ships that taught Henry the leadership skills he would use the rest of his life.  His patriotic service meant so much to him, and he loved the honor he received at the American Legion Post #26 in Pt. Townsend, of which he was a member.  

 

Henry rekindled his high school friendship with Marjorie Jane (Last) while he was in the service and they were married in 1946, raising five children, enjoying 67 years together.   

 

After the war, Henry found work in New York City working in the Personnel Department for a Kosher meat packing company, while Marjorie became one of Tupperware’s best sales representatives.  It was in a New York City cafe that his life’s career changed.  A friend from Henry’s college days walked into the cafe and insisted that Henry help him out with a television show that broadcast live horse racing.  In between races, at the makeshift studio in a warehouse, the local broadcast would entertain viewers with a talking horse. Henry was needed to play the rear end!  However, when the “talking end” failed to show, Henry was promptly promoted “up front” and thus began his 27-year career in television broadcasting - twenty years with WWJ-TV/Radio in Detroit, Mich and then KCOP in Los Angeles.  Along the way he met and/or worked with a long list of the famous and infamous, and witnessed the growth of the television industry from its infancy to becoming the Business Manager for the Evening News Association, based in Detroit, MI.  His professional accomplishments included membership in the Pacific Pioneers of Broadcasting and Co-Founder of the Institute of Broadcast Financial Management. After leaving KCOP, he began his consulting business to install computerized systems for tracking commercials.

 

Henry retired in 1980 when he joined Marjorie in Australia and the Solomon Islands as she completed her Masters Degree.  While Marjorie concentrated on her research, Henry spent time sailing and hired local guides to take him around Australia and Tasmania. Together with his wife, Marjorie, they were an inseparable team that traveled the world, made friends and left life - long memories with all who knew them.

 

Henry’s flare for comedy and the dramatic combined with active learning kept his mind quick and wit sharp.  He would “hold court” to all who’d listen and you’d be disappointed not to.  His command of language earned him respect and attention in all he gave his efforts to.  

 

Henry lived a life of public service - elected to the Dearborn (MI) School Board, East Jefferson Rotary President, Co-Founder of Chimacum Education Foundation and Founder, Friends of Chimacum School, Member of Jefferson County Law and Justice Advisory Council, Port Hadlock Chamber of Commerce “Citizen of the Year-1996” and Member of Jefferson Healthcare Long-Range Planning Committee.  His leadership and wisdom about every imaginable subject were sought after by friends, elected officials, organizations - everyone wanted Henry on their team!

 

Henry was a unique and wonderful father, mentor, Scout Master, fix-it man to name a few.   Summertime included camping trips throughout the US, neighborhood parties, and the annual outing of the Dearborn Canoe and Punting Society - a group of families who camped out and canoed the rivers of Michigan.  He was full of love for his children and laughter with his stories, Vaudeville routines, outrageous outfits and promoting an open mind and respect for all cultures.  

 

After 95 years of fun, Henry leaves behind sons Paul Rogers (LuAnn) and Eric Rogers of Port Hadlock; daughters Nancy Rogers (David Spriggs) of Petaluma, CA and Catherine Rogers (Robert Barker) of Concord, CA; grandchildren Laura May Rogers and Jonny Rogers of Port Hadlock, WA and Sam Scrantom of Columbus, GA.  Sister-in-law, Carole Last, Belmont, CA; nieces Molly Last, San Francisco, CA and Julie Last, Bearsville, NY.  Nephews Eric and Matthew Last, San Francisco, CA and Christian Last, Livonia, MI.

 

Henry was preceded in death by wife Marjorie Jane (Last) and son Henry (Buck) Rogers, Jr.

 

The family thanks all who helped care for Henry in the last months of his life, especially Hospice of Jefferson County and ECHHO.  

 

A celebration of Henry’s life takes place on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at the Valley Tavern in Port Hadlock from 1- 3 pm.  To honor Henry, donations may be sent to Friends of Chimacum Schools Education Foundation, P.O. Box 192, Chimacum, WA  98325, Hospice of Jefferson County, or ECHHO.  

 

Henry leaves you with these parting words, “In keeping with the spirit of the Quillayute and the Chimacum who have gone on before, may the Eagle soar high over all our loved ones and the Raven be confounded in the mists of time”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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