06/20/2018: "John Edward Rogers"
Sept. 26, 1943 ~ May 27, 2018
John Edward Rogers (74), of Friday Harbor, Washington, passed away on Sunday, May 27th in Bellingham from complications arising from surgery. Born September 26, 1943 in Butte, Montana to George A. (“Dolly”) and Ann C. (Sullivan) Rogers, John grew up in Centerville with his brother, George, surrounded by a large extended family on the Richest Hill on Earth.
He attended St. Lawrence’s school, Butte Central High School, and Western Montana College, where he received his teaching degree.
John married Aleda Ritz in Butte, where they had children Julie and John before moving to Lincoln City, Oregon, where Michael was welcomed into the family.
John taught junior high math for a few years, became school principal, and then a district administrator for the rest of his career. He was a superintendent of schools for several districts, including Lincoln County, Hillsboro and Molalla River. John was an active and engaged member of all those communities, and he made positive and lasting contributions to the lives of the students and their schools. He seemed to know everyone, and he had an uncanny knack for recognizing and remembering former students who he would unexpectedly encounter even thirty or forty years later.
It was in Hillsboro that John met Pam Rice, a native of Friday Harbor. They were married in 1989, also bringing Emily and Christa into the Rogers family orbit. John and Pam relocated to Friday Harbor, where they built their dream house (twice) and made themselves an integral part of the island community, including daily rounds of golf at the San Juan Island Golf & Country Club.
John collected countless friends throughout his life, from those he grew up with, to those he worked with, and the many, many others he just happened to meet along life’s journey. John and Pam caught the international travel bug after a visit to Julie in Ireland, and from that point on they ventured back to Europe just about every year, and sometimes even twice a year. John made new friends everywhere he went ��" he was a great man for striking up a conversation with a perfect stranger, anywhere in the world, and the next thing you knew they were making plans to meet up for drinks and exchanging Christmas cards.
Papa John, as he was known to his five beloved grandchildren, was an inveterate teaser, expert practical joker, and great story-teller. His impish sense of humor was one of his defining characteristics, and many young family members (you know who you are!) were talked into believing John’s tall tales or sent on nonsensical quests, to his endless delight. John’s other defining characteristic was his big heart ��" he loved his family above all else and the best times for him were those occasions that brought them all together. Thankfully, he enjoyed several memorable family occasions in just the past year, including two joyous family weddings last summer. John was enormously proud of his children and grandchildren, and he bragged constantly and shamelessly about all of them. His close friends, and he had many, were all part of his extended family. He loved and cared for them as a son, brother, or father would ��" always willing to lend a hand, especially in difficult times, and warmly welcoming them into his home and heart.
He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Ann Rogers, mother-in-law, Celia Gregory, and cherished son, Michael Joseph. John will be mourned and lovingly remembered by his wife and constant partner, Pam, his children, Julie (David) Sheehy of Redmond, WA, John (Natalie) Rogers of Everett, WA, Emily Rice of Edmonds, WA, Christa (Greg) Nieminen of Bothell, WA, and grandchildren Megan, Molly, Niamh, Antonio, and Anders. He will also be painfully missed and always remembered by his brother, George (Loretta) Rogers of Dallas, OR, cousin James “Pogie” (Gloria) Rogers of Butte, MT, his former spouse, Aleda, numerous nieces, nephews, and many other friends and family members.
Cremation has taken place and the family is planning a memorial celebration of his life on August 4th in Everett, Washington (details to be confirmed at a later date).
Those wishing to make a memorial can give a donation to the Special Olympics. Family and close friends know that John would probably encourage you to play his Keno numbers, place a bet on a horse race, or buy a lottery ticket, and donate your winnings to the Special Olympics, preferably in Mikey’s name.