Kenneth R. Rogers passed away on February 2, 2019.
Ken was born in Detroit, Michigan on February 29, 1932. He was a member of the 1950 class of Alma High School. After high school, Ken attended college classes at Michigan Technological University and Michigan State University, and soon after that, enlisted in the Navy, serving on the aircraft carrier Bon Homme Richard during the Korean War.
Upon his return from military service, Ken attended Anderson College, in Anderson, Indiana where he met the love of his life, Jeanine (Carter). The couple married on June 26, 1955, and soon after that, Ken completed his undergraduate degree at Ball State University. The couple would move to Berrien Springs, Michigan, where their son Mark (“buc”) was born, and where Ken began his teaching career. They then moved to Tucson, Arizona, where their son Phil was born, and where Ken completed a Master’s Degree at the University of Arizona. The family returned to Michigan soon after Phil was born, living for a brief time in Benton Harbor, before moving to St. Joseph.
Volunteerism has been an important aspect of Ken and Jeanine’s lives. For instance, soon after their return to Southwestern Michigan in the early 1960s, Ken and Jeanine were very active with a migrant childcare center in Sodus, Michigan. Ken drove a bus to transport the children to and from the center, and both Ken and Jeanine were involved with various programs and activities at the center. Ken also took a special interest in helping a man that he met at church who had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at a relatively early age, and soon required full-time care. Ken would frequently spend time with him and transport him to places that he wanted to go. Ken and Jeanine were also instrumental in the launching of Harbor Habitat for Humanity, ultimately serving on the Board of Directors, and working on the construction of many homes over the years.
Ken would shape the lives of a great many students as a teacher, working mostly with fourth and fifth grade students at Brown Elementary School. Many were the times that a former student would approach Ken and thank him for how much he had helped them, especially in areas such as earth science, biology, botany, and geography. The classroom snake “Kingsley” and also a tarantula were part of his hands-on teaching approach.
Ken’s family and friends were often entertained by his many stories, and his uncanny ability to turn almost anything into a pun. He loved the splendor of nature, a love he shared with Jeanine and with his children, and they would go on many camping trips, hikes, and cross-country skiing adventures together. Ken was also fond of music, singing in the church choir, playing the harmonica, and strumming a dulcimer (which he constructed with his own two hands).
Ken is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jeanine Rogers; two sons, Mark and Phil; their wives, Deb and Carolyn; six grandchildren: Sean, Nicholas, Danielle, Jacob, Anne, and Hope; nieces and nephews; his beloved dog Abby, and many other extended family and friends.
Ken’s father, Howard; his mother, Myrtle; and his sister, Irene, preceded Ken in death.
A celebration of Ken’s life for family and friends will be held at 1st Presbyterian Church in Benton Harbor, on February 16, 2019, with a visitation starting at 9:30 AM, and a memorial service starting at 11:00 AM, followed by a luncheon. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Ken and Jeanine’s favorite charities: First Presbyterian Church (firstpresbh.org), Harbor Habitat for Humanity (http://www.harborhabitat.org/), and the Brain Support Network (brainsupportnetwork.org) A scattering of his ashes will take place at a later date. Those wishing to sign Ken’s Memory Book may do so online at www.starks-menchinger.com.
Posted On: Thursday, February 7, 2019 3:13 PM