Ronald G. Rogers, the kind gentleman we have been privileged to know for a lifetime, took his last breath on the evening of Friday, November 13th after suffering a stroke the morning of November 11th at his home. He leaves behind his children Kathleen Rogers and husband Shayne, Stephen Rogers and wife Jerene, and Dr. David Rogers and wife Eldaah, all of Spokane. Our mother Marlene, his wife of 45 years, died in 1999. Near and dear to Dad is a brother-in-law, Dr. Neil Nilsson of Olympia who called him, “my brother.” Together, Dad and Neil had many tales of trying to “make a buck” in the mid-1950’s selling pots and pans door-to-door to get a meal together for their young families. Ron leaves behind six grandchildren who called him “Grampa Ronnie”. He was proud of them and their families across the country: Megan, Jenny, David, Mary, Michael, Lucia, and great-grandchildren, Greta, Therese, Hosea, Clark, Skye, Benjamin, and Louisa. He leaves a niece Valerie, and nephew Robert.
Ron is survived by his wonderful girlfriend, Thelma Draszt who is part of our family, along with her daughters, Mikele, Jacqueline, and Kimberly who loved him as we did. Thelma and Ron found each other five years after each losing their life-long spouses only days apart. We called it serendipitous as they had once been childhood sweethearts! Always the handsome man with perfect posture, Dad had many women trying to figure out a way to get his attention after Mom died. But, since Dad was shy about dating and thought he could never love again, she asked him out! Thank you, Thelma! We enjoyed seeing the fun and love they shared and the flirty twinkle back in his bluest of blue eyes.
Ron was a Depression baby born to Margaret Westerman and Robert Rogers in Spokane, on March 5th, 1935 at the old St. Luke’s Hospital. Times were lean and he was often left to his own devices. He shared many stories of life before and after WWII as a child growing up without a lot of supervision (none!). He and Mom were lonely teenagers who loved and depended on each other, marrying in October of 1954. They were children themselves growing up together with us, working hard to build a home and family from nothing, never expecting others ‘to do’ for them. We heard him say that we three kids were their grand experiment. Dad taught us many things including a strong work ethic and to have an opinion at the dinner table; given that the phrase, “I don’t know” was never an answer! He passed along his love for every genre of music to us and his grandchildren. He encouraged our piano playing, although he did complain about hearing the spinning song one too many times. Sunday mornings were spent with Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, the 1812 overture, Benny Goodman and so much more. Together, he and Mom instilled in us the love of learning, and the joy of school and sports. Winning was always important as was losing respectfully. Dad was a life-long salesman and we marveled at his flawless and ever polite negotiation style even with the most nefarious of characters! He was smart, honest to a fault, incredibly funny with his dry wit and charm, and generous to all that met him. Our home was open to their many friends and family who would stop by for dinner, coffee, or a beer, and of course a round of pool. He was a master pool-player and there were few who could beat his gracious style—although many tried. He loved golf and had life-long golf buddies including his children, who will miss his perfect swing and step, always insisting on carrying his clubs.
Dad treasured his large home and acreage and was proud (to a fault some days!) of managing it alone. He had recently bagged all the pine needles, plowed the driveway, and mopped the kitchen floor. His last walk was to open the door for the paramedics after the stroke began. We are happy he left us as he wished, but it is difficult to say good-bye for now.
We give our thanks to the fine nurses and doctors at Deaconess who treated us as family and provided exceptional care. We were with him throughout his short hospital stay, as it should be. Dad, we will miss your quick mind, the ‘Rogers’ hugs, incredible sense of humor and your lively opinions. We are proud to have been your grand experiment.
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