John Rogers, a third-generation owner of Rogers Funeral Home, will be remembered not only for the care he provided grieving families, but also the generosity he showed in his personal life.
Rogers, 63, died unexpectedly Thursday.
“Death was his living, and he was around death every day,” said Buddy Bennett, Rogers’ brother-in-law. “He has given comfort and solace to people his entire life, and he has been with people when they are at the lowest of the low.”
But some may not know the extent of Rogers’ generosity, Bennett said. After Bennett got married, he stayed at an apartment Rogers owned in South Frankfort.
When Bennett asked him how much to pay each month in rent, Rogers simply told him to fix up the property and call it even.
“That’s what kind of man he was,” Bennett said. “He’s paying the mortgage on this place, and he says, ‘Ah, just fix it up.’ If you ever owed him money or anything, he’d say, ‘Ah, just pay me whenever.’
“He was never, ever one to call about bills.”
Rogers was known for his generosity in the community and among competitors. Hal Taylor, of LeCompte-Johnson-Taylor Funeral Home, said the funeral homes would often share or borrow equipment from one another.
The practice, he said, is unusual.
“Most funeral homes are at each others’ throats in towns normally,” said Taylor, who played golf with Rogers.
Taylor said Rogers’ death came as a shock.
Will Harrod, of Harrod Brothers Funeral Home, shared similar sentiments. He called Rogers an “asset to this community.”
“We always tried to help one another,” Harrod said. “If one another needed help, we always offered it. That’s always been the relationship.
“They’ve been in business for many, many years, as we have, and we’ve always kind of tried to work hand-in-hand as much as possible.”
Harrod said he first thought of Rogers’ family when he heard news of Rogers’ death.
Rogers has presided over a number of funerals over the years, and he always showed compassion for the grieving family.
City Commissioner Sellus Wilder, whose 5-month-old daughter Rye Wilder died in May 2011, said he had a lot of respect for Rogers, who handled the funeral.
He said the amount of care and concern Rogers and his wife, Mary Rogers, showed after Rye’s passing was “significant.”
“There’s a lot of business that needs to be taken care of when a little one dies, and he was just really good about seeing to it that that stuff was taken care,” Sellus Wilder said. “He clearly spent his life doing this.”
When Bennett’s father passed in 1985, Rogers handled the services. He asked Bennett to touch his father’s body and gave him words of encouragement.
“He asked me to touch him and make sure I knew he was dead, and that this earthly shell that we’re in is just a temporary home, and that there is a promise that God gives us that’s greater than anything we can do down here,” Bennett said.
Rogers leaves behind his wife and three daughters. A celebration of his life will be held 1 p.m. Tuesday at Rogers Funeral Home, and friends may call the funeral home from 2-8 p.m. Monday.