For Tomorrow’s Children
By Richard Rogers
What I seek may not be freer,
But I’ll go.
Pour me a dixie cup of wine,
And I’ll smile.
And should a tear bless a cheek,
I’ll crawl back.
To live another day, love another night;
And try again.
But today is the present’s only hope,
So till then:
Find the time to love the children,
They need it so much;
Don’t neglect those with only yesterdays,
That time has touched.
And feel till it burns your heart.
[Published in the 1973 issue of Jefferson Jottings, the literary journal of Thomas Jefferson High School, Fairfax County, Virginia,
when Richard Rogers was 17 years old.]
Poet, musician, salesman extraordinaire, securities broker, oil speculator, Pentecostal pastor, father, and sometime spouse – unifying themes are elusive when pondering the sprawling, often alarming, and always uncertain life led by Richard Roy Rogers. Those who knew and loved him will always recall with astonishment how often he managed the narrowest of escapes, only to plunge promptly into another, even more perilous predicament. In a life riven with contradictions, upheaval, and many abrupt reversals of fortune, Rev. Richard Roy Rogers succeeded in building a durable spiritual home in his faith, which was a source of inspiration and consolation as he faced the difficult tribulations of his later years.
Richard Roy Rogers was born on July 15, 1955, at 3:16 a.m. at the United States Naval Hospital in Bremerton, Washington, the second son of Marine Captain William Milton Rogers and Mary Virginia Rogers (née Bausell). After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax, Virginia, where he was a Boys State delegate in 1973, Richard attended Emory and Henry College in southwestern Virginia. At Emory and Henry, Richard received the Senior English Award and also served as editor of the college literary magazine. These achievements were a particular source of pride for his uncle and aunt, Roy and Grace Hale, who (as “Papaw” and “Mamaw”) had been steadfast, abiding influences throughout Richard’s upbringing. Roy Hale was also an alumnus of Emory and Henry College.
It was during his time at Emory and Henry that Richard established a deep connection to the people and culture of Appalachia, leading him to return there for much of the last decade of his life. In the intervening years, he achieved distinction as an award-winning salesman in the auto industry while navigating the difficult struggles that plagued his personal life.
Richard’s Biblical studies were his greatest point of pride, culminating in his ordination as a licensed minister by New Life Church and Ministries in 2012, followed by an Associate Degree of Biblical Studies, awarded in 2016 by the New Life Bible College and Seminary in Hillsville, Virginia. In subsequent years, he affiliated with a number of congregations and ministries in northern Virginia and Appalachia, including Oakland Baptist Church and the Cornerstone Chapel in King George, Virginia, as well as the Haven of Rest Rescue Mission in Bristol, Tennessee. In these settings, Richard’s natural gifts as a preacher and his extraordinary fund of Biblical knowledge were recognized as inspirational contributions to his community of faith.
Soon after returning to Appalachia in December of 2021, Richard contracted COVID-19, eventually succumbing at 4:45 p.m. on February 7, 2022, at Ballad Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Virginia.
Richard is survived by: his son Patrick Blake Rogers, Patrick’s wife Carrie, and their two sons (Tyler and Isaac) of Fredericksburg, Virginia; his son U.S. Army Capt. (Vet.) Zachary Lee Rogers of San Antonio, Texas; his daughter Olivia Ann Rogers-Perez, her husband Brandon Perez, and their four sons (Jake-Anthony, Max, Emilio, and Rafael) of San Antonio; his daughter Emily Helen Rogers of San Antonio; his daughter Elizabeth Grace Rogers of San Antonio; his brother Dr. William Rogers II of Portland, Oregon; and former wives Anita Moran of Fredericksburg and Cheryl Lynn Rogers of San Antonio.
Contributions honoring Richard’s life would be welcomed by the Haven of Rest Rescue Mission, 624 Anderson Street, Bristol, TN 37620-2229 (phone: 423.968.2011). As we dwell upon Richard’s life with the sympathy, love, and respect that he sought so fervently throughout his turbulent passage through this mortal coil, we can only imagine how his mesmerizing charisma, depth of feeling, and formidable Biblical scholarship will serve him well in his next assignment.