George Rogers Sr. died peacefully at home in Vineyard Haven on Nov. 6. He was 97.

He was born in Vineyard Haven at his family home on Feb. 4, 1922, the son of Frank Rogers and Maria de Canha who both emigrated from Madeira, Portugal by way of Ellis Island in 1911.

A lifelong Islander, he graduated from the Tisbury High School in 1942 and immediately enlisted in the Navy. As seaman second class, he was commissioned as a gunner in the gunnery division on board the Battleship USS Baltimore that participated in numerous bombardments of the Japanese shoreline to support the successful landing and occupation of U.S. troops from 1943 to 1944. The USS Baltimore was one of the key strategic participants in the air raid bombings on the Japanese island of IWO JIMA.

A favorite story George often told about his service during World War II in the Pacific was the time he was asked by his commander to guard and protect President Roosevelt’s dog, named Fala, a Scottish terrier that always traveled with the President, while the President was having a top secret meeting in Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Baltimore with his general and admiral.

Upon completing his tour of duty in the Navy in 1945, George returned to his beloved Martha’s Vineyard and worked for an Island contractor as a carpenter. He met and married Florine Santos in 1950, who was born and raised in West Tisbury by parents who also emigrated from Portugal in the early 1900s.

George and Florine celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary on Sept. 25.

With the birth of his four children in the early 1950s, George’s love for the seas lead him to accept a job with the Steamship Authority. He eventually rose to the position of quarter master. Upon retirement in the late 1970s, he was anxious to start his own business and ultimately purchased an old Hood milk truck and sold ice cream at Katama Beach and along State Beach for nearly 20 years. He took great pleasure in meeting people from around the world, but his greatest joy was bringing a smile to the faces of the endless lines of children who bought ice cream from his truck stand on State Beach.

George was an avid fisherman who participated in the original Martha’s Vineyard Bass and Blue Derby in 1946. He continued to fish the shoreline and waterways of Martha’s Vineyard right up to the age of 90.

He was a devoted husband and father who had a great love for the land and waters of the Vineyard. There was no other place he wanted to be than on the Island to pursue his passion for boating, fishing, hunting and shellfishing. Nothing gave him more peace of mind than sitting with a fishing rod in hand on a long sandy beach or fishing from his boat at sunset along the north shore without a ripple in the water.

He had an exceptional vegetable garden and a tireless commitment to pass on to future generations his love of growing vegetables, especially the delicious raspberries he cultivated.

The family is grateful for the compassionate support by VNA of Cape Cod Hospice.

He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Florine Rogers and his four children: Marie Baldwin of West Tisbury, Linda Rogers of Boston, George Rogers Jr. of Vineyard Haven and Dennis Rogers of Edgartown; 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his 10 brothers and sisters: Mary Pombo of Acushnet, Manuel Rogers of San Gabriel, Calif., Lydia Silva of New Haven, Conn., Frank Rogers of Edgartown, Olga Panagakos of Acushnet, Alice Duncan of Walnut Creek, Calif., William Rogers of Oak Bluffs; Gloria Cory of Dartmouth, John Rogers of Vineyard Haven, and Eleanor Luce of West Tisbury.

Services were held on Nov. 9 at St. Augustine‘s Church in Vineyard Haven, with the Rev. Father Michael Nagle officiating. Interment was in the Oak Grove Cemetery, with military honors provided by the Veterans of Martha’s Vineyard.

Donations can be made to the Visiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod, 255 Independence Drive, Hyannis, MA 02601 or the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, P.O. Box 2101, Edgartown, MA 02539.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs.