George S. Rogers Was Veteran of World War II

George Sterling Rogers of North Guilford, Conn., formerly of Vineyard Haven, died at the Connecticut Hospice in Branford, Conn. on August 19, 2003 after a long battle with gall bladder cancer. He and his wife, Suzanne, had lived on Martha's Vineyard for 17 years in Cranberry Acres and had only recently moved to Connecticut.

George was born in Port Washington, N.Y., on Sept. 9, 1926, the son of the late Elsie Sterling and Armistead Calhoun Rogers. He was a graduate of the Lenox School and Yale University, class of 1950. He served in the Navy for three years during World War II.

Most of his career was in the gift business and silver industry in Connecticut. He retired from the International Silver Company after 26 years as a director of marketing and was president of The American Pewter Guild in 1975 and 1976. He headed up his own nationwide distributorship for lap desks for many years before retiring to the Vineyard.

His love of the Vineyard began with his first visit to his future wife's family at their cottage in Oak Bluffs in 1949. He and Susie and their children returned every summer until his retirement in 1986, when they bought their home on Lambert's Cove Road.

His next 17 years were devoted to helping families on the Island. For 12 years he was a big brother in the Big Brother-Big Sister program to Johnny, Chrissy and Charley McCarthy, whom he always considered part of his own family. In 1998 he received the Cape and Islands Big Brother of the Year award. He and his wife, with the late Pam Perry, ran the Island Food Pantry, volunteering in every capacity during its first seven years. He watched it grow from an agency that served a few families a week to serving well over 1,000 families a year in later years. He spent his last nine years doing all of the food purchasing for the pantry and took pride in the fact that so many people who had been helped eventually went on to find real meaning in their lives. In a related activity, he was the treasurer for the Vineyard Committee on Hunger and for years organized the ubiquitous donation jars found near the cash registers of nearly every Island business.

He was a hospice volunteer for nine years and the volunteer representative to the hospice board. He volunteered at the Thrift Shop in the men's department, and he and his wife brought Meals On Wheels to up-Island families two days a week for three years. He was also a home visitor to the Quentin Dawkins family through the Tisbury Council on Aging and maintained a real friendship with the family even when both had moved off the Island.

He was a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven. He served on the vestry as both parish clerk and senior warden. For many years he ushered at the 8 a.m. service. He and his wife both served as lay Eucharistic ministers bringing the sacrament to the homebound and those too ill to attend services.

One of his loves was the supper fellowship at the Friday Night Club at the American Legion in Vineyard Haven. He also enjoyed countless happy times with friends playing golf at the Mink Meadows Golf Club, where he sank his third hole in one.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Suzanne, and four children: the Rev. Elizabeth Page Rogers, rector of St. John's Church, Niantic, Conn.; Michael Sterling Rogers and his wife, Carolyn Williams, of Cheshire, Conn.; Kathryn Ashton Bartels and her husband, Greg, of Guilford, Conn., and Christopher Longley Rogers of Oak Bluffs. He is also survived by four granddaughters: Kelly Elizabeth Godfrey; Meghan Suzanne Rogers; Ashton Vickery Bartels and Lauren Sterling Bartels, and a brother, Armistead Courtenay Rogers. He was predeceased by a grandson, Colin Rogers.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, Oct. 3, at 10:30 a.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, Vineyard Haven. Burial will be private in Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in his memory to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, 1 Hospital Road, Oak Bluffs 02557.