Donald Elroy Rogers was born June 5, 1927 to Clara Martha (nee Haase) and Edwin Burton Rogers in Cash, South Dakota. He was the second youngest child to a family of 13 brothers and sisters: Vida Louise, Vernon Edward Lemmon, Clifford Burton, Violet Berniece, Margaret Lois, Lois Adelia, Edward Eugene, Margaret Hazel, Walter Boone, Russell Lowell, Maurice Lynell, and Robert Dale Rogers… all who have preceded him in death.
Don moved from South Dakota to Toledo, Oregon in 1945 when he came out west to visit his sister Violet and family. He was drafted into the Army soon after but chose to return to Oregon upon his discharge to look for work. While living in Toledo, he met Bonnie Louise Chatfield. He and Bonnie were both crackerjack musicians (she on piano, he on clarinet + saxophone). They often played together for dance hall bands when times were lean. Their love of music, horses, and the outdoors bonded them ever closer and they were married in June of 1948. They moved to McMinnville for a short time while Don was enrolled at Linfield College. After his second year, he decided that college life was not for him and he and Bonnie moved back to Toledo. He was excited to find work at CD Johnson Lumber Company. He loved wood and the timber industry was growing fast. In 1951 he began working for Georgia Pacific. He was eventually offered the position of Chip Buyer and he enjoyed everything about his new title. It was here that a job turned into an actual career for him, one that he would take pride in for years to come.
He worked loyally for Georgia Pacific for 40 years until his retirement in 1988.
Don & Bonnie eventually purchased an old two story farm house on 13 acres, located just a few miles out of Toledo on Hwy 20. It was here they would raise their family of 4 children until 1976. During this time Don discovered his passion for woodworking. In the dug-out basement, he began making furniture of all types, from the cabinetry that he would eventually build for the farmhouse remodel to fine furniture. Cradles for his grandchildren, desks, rocking chairs, Grandfather clocks, mantel clocks. The list goes on and on. Woodworking suited his personality well. He was a perfectionist at heart and a stickler for the details and this hobby checked all the boxes! We who loved him most are the lucky recipients of his labor of love.
Bonnie was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 1965. She did her best to carry on as mother and housewife in spite of debilitating medical issues. But they were both of strong character and kept moving forward with determination to create a life that would be filled with love, adventure and happiness, much of which came from the extraordinary circumstances that drove them. They were an amazing team.
In 1976, Dons position at Georgia Pacific had grown to where it became necessary for him to relocate to the corporate office in Portland, Oregon. Their decision to move (2 children still in school) would not be easy. But they decided it was to be in the best interest of all, so later that summer, Don and Bonnie purchased a home on 2 acres in Oregon City. Just big enough for a couple of kids, dogs, cats and one horse!
In 1979, Don & Bonnies youngest son Jeff was hit and killed by an automobile while on a walk to meet a friend.
It was in this moment that their lives would be changed forever. Overwhelmed with grief and no clue how to process it, a dear friend held out a hand in friendship. John Ekman, being a Christian himself knew of only one way to help. And it would be through the healing word of God. And through this profound loss, a lasting relationship with, and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior would offer lifesaving peace for the rest of their lives.
In Feb. of 2009, Bonnie died at age 78. This would be another difficult transition for Don. He’d spent his life devoted to Bonnie & helping her manage through her disability. MS left her in a wheelchair from 1979 until her death. He would spend months trying to adjust to this lonely time. But with encouragement from family, he was able to get back to living a purposeful life, as Bonnie would have wanted for him. At 82 years young, he would try to meet new people in a very changed world!
In September of 2009, Don was introduced to fellow Christian, Ruth Jacobs from Keizer, Oregon. Their friendship grew as they discovered the many things they had in common. They would later be married in June of 2010. They chose to live at his home in Oregon City where they both enjoyed gardening, cooking, and family. They traveled extensively during their time together and visited all kinds of places Don would have never imagined going had it not been for Ruthi’s adventurous spirit.
Don & Ruthi enjoyed an extended Christian family in the Reformation Covenant Church in Oregon City where they attended every Sunday. They also provided in-home bible study fellowship for family & friends at the instruction of Pastor Russ Barton. The Love of the Lord was ever present in their home.
With the onset of the Covid 19, all of these things would slowly change. All except for his love of the Lord the study of the bible. He was happy to quit traveling and content to stay closer to home to work on new furniture projects and baking home-made bread from his cozy kitchen! He spent long hours chatting on the telephone with son Allen, talking about their hobbies & love of cars & trucks! Big trucks. Don was always fascinated with Allen’s ability to drive & manage a huge tractor/trailer… loaded with two levels of brand new cars, somewhere in the middle of rush-hour and 6 lanes of traffic! He lived vicariously through his children, proud of their accomplishments and always their biggest fan. Dons latter years were met with bigger health issues. He and his doctors did their best to help him manage them. They slowed him down quite a bit but his mind always remained bright and strong. He used to muse that he often “couldn’t wait to wake up the next morning to see what else wasn’t working”! And that growing old was “not for the faint of heart”. But he always kept a healthy sense of humor and did his best to leave his children with little to worry about.
Sadly, it was in early May of 2021, Don & Ruthi were exposed to the Covid 19 virus during a brief outing. Ruthi would be able to recover from her virus, but Don, almost 94 and health-compromised, would not be strong enough to fight it. He requested to be moved to Portland Adventist Hospital during the second week of his illness.
And on the evening of May 24th, 2021, from his hospital bed… with eldest daughter Pam close by his side, Don quietly passed away and left this world to join his family in Heaven.
After nearly 94 years of a life well lived, the Lord called him Home. We will miss him deeply.
Don is survived by his daughter Pam Cole & spouse, Dave. Granddaughter Aundrea Cummings. Great grandsons Kyle Cummings & Spouse Andi and Noah Cummings. Granddaughter Addie Horwath & spouse Dave. Great grandsons Trevor and Dillon Horwath. Granddaughter Josie Thomspon & spouse Todd. Great Grandsons Austin and Zey Thompson. Grandson Tyson Cole & spouse MJ. Son Allen Rogers. Grandson Clayton Conifer & spouse Ryan Conifer. Granddaughter Erin Evans & spouse Aaron. Great granddaughter Brooklynn Evans. Granddaughter Kloee Jo Rogers. Daughter Lauri Meyer & Spouse Roy Domke.
Don is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews who will miss him dearly. They will keep him in their thoughts and prayers and know that he is free at last from this vale of tears and has joined his loved ones in the great beyond.
A funeral service will be held for Donald E Rogers at the Reformation Covenant Church, @ 1201 JQ Adams Street, Oregon City, Oregon 97045 at 4:00 PM on June 12th, 2021 This service will be Live Streamed through the church
A reception will follow for those who would like to join at 14740 Gerkman Road, Oregon City, Oregon 97045