Joseph Evans Rogers Jr.

Rogers—Joseph Evans Rogers Jr., 80, on January 11, 2019, from metastasized prostate cancer. Joe was born on January 8, 1939, in Mt. Holly, N.J., the only child of Mary A. Jones and Joseph E. Rogers. A member of Moorestown (N.J.) Meeting from birth to age 35, he attended Moorestown Friends School and majored in chemistry at Haverford College. He was treasurer of the Young Friends of North America in the early 1960s. He married Gertrude Brown, called Trudy, in 1964, under the care of Friends Meeting of Washington (D.C.). Earning a doctorate in organic chemistry from Cornell University, he taught organic chemistry at Carleton College and Earlham College before moving into academic administration with the Great Lakes Colleges Association.

Moving back to the mid-Atlantic region to be closer to aging parents, he found work in Washington, D.C., administering the American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund, which encouraged grants for work at colleges and universities.

When he transferred his membership to Langley Hill Meeting in McLean, Va., Friends appreciated his ability to explain budgets and financial decisions simply and clearly and often asked him for this service. He transferred his membership to Sandy Spring (Md.) Meeting and served on the boards of Sandy Spring Friends School and Friends House. He clerked the Finance Committees for Friends Committee on National Legislation, Friends General Conference, and Pendle Hill study center in Wallingford, Pa. A good strategic thinker, he saw the implications of many lightly proposed actions and was willing to ask hard questions.

He retired in 2000, offering a course on energy and the environment at Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning. He and Trudy moved to Maryland’s Eastern shore, to a house in the woods along Fairlee Creek that they had designed themselves, transferring their memberships to Chester River Meeting in Chestertown, Md. He loved the water, maintaining a canoe and other small craft for exploring it. He raised flowers and vegetables in the small front yard and enjoyed walking among the ancient trees, harvesting downed wood for his beloved fireplace. An avid birdwatcher, he ringed the patio with bird feeders and fretted about the pesky squirrels. He particularly enjoyed taking guests on walking tours to introduce them to birding.

He served on the Friends Publishing Corporation Board in 2009–2012. Greatly valuing his long Quaker heritage, he loved to share stories about his Quaker forebears. He liked puns and had a keen dry wit. Using his gift for hospitality, he liked bringing people together for an evening or a casual weekend, thinking carefully about who might especially appreciate each other or want to join forces around some common concern and build a lasting connection. The friendships that grew out of these encounters are innumerable.

He enjoyed talking about his daughters’ academic prowess and professional achievements and liked having all of his progeny in one place. He never succeeded in getting his grandsons interested in birding, but he did teach them to fish from the dock. His children and grandchildren especially remember how he would send them off on a canoe trip down the inlet, and then sit on the dock watching the birds through his binoculars, waiting for them to come back.

A card his family received spoke of “One life lived, many lives touched.” His influence will live on in the buildings whose plans he tweaked, the financial structures he encouraged and adopted, and the relationships he introduced.

Joe is survived by his wife, Trudy Brown Rogers; two children, Elizabeth Evans Rogers and Mary Katherine Rogers, called Kathy (Leonard Dickens); and two grandchildren.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maximum of 400 words or 2000 characters.

Comments on may be used in the Forum of the print magazine and may be edited for length and clarity.