(August 23, 1931 – October 6, 2022)
Thomas Ralph Rogers passed away peacefully on October 6, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
Tom was born in Stephenville, Texas, on August 23, 1931, to John Ralph Rogers and Dossie Viva (Gilbreath) Rogers. He graduated from Dublin (Texas) High School in 1948 and attended John Tarleton Agricultural College before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin where he was a five-year member of the Longhorn Band. After earning an MA in Analytical Chemistry in 1954, Tom moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, to begin a 40-year career with Columbia-Southern Chemical Company and PPG Industries, Inc. During his career, he embraced the emerging technology of computers, writing programs to complete complex calculations in the late 1960s and into the 1970s, working odd hours so as not to compete with the accounting department the computers were purchased for. He taught chemistry at Del Mar College and continued his education, earning a Master’s in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M Kingsville in 1981. In Corpus Christi, he was an active member of First United Methodist Church where he joined the choir and a young adults Sunday School class. Through those groups, he met many of his fondest friends, as well as Jane Hatley, whom he would marry in that same church on July 4, 1959.
Tom expressed his love for his family through his dedication to his children’s lives and education. He never missed a theater, band or choir performance, was a Webelos leader in Pack 40, and Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 3 where his three sons each earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He encouraged all five children to excel in music, Scouting, and school, and assured they had the resources to graduate from college, earning a total of 12 degrees with 8 from his beloved University of Texas at Austin. In 1983, Tom and Jane began a new adventure, following his career first to Wadsworth, OH, and later to Harrison City, PA, before returning to Texas in 1997 to begin an active retired life in Georgetown. In his retirement, he continued his lifelong hobbies which included playing in community bands and the Longhorn Alumni Band; visiting the ballet, symphony, and opera; researching genealogy and family history including his grandfather’s Civil War Company; collecting books; watching football; and volunteering through church, schools, and the Democratic Party. His passions for all these hobbies continue through to his children and grandchildren.
Through his actions and his words, Tom taught his children the importance of doing the right thing, even when no one was looking; showing respect for people of all races, ethnicities, and religions; and taking care of those who are less fortunate. As a teenager, he played Taps at the funerals of World War II servicemen. He was ahead of his time, realizing the importance of feminism, recycling, and wearing seatbelts in the 1970s. As a card-carrying member of the ACLU, and a member of Planned Parenthood since 1975, he believed in women’s rights, gay rights, gun safety, public education, science, freedom of religion, environmental protections, Dr. Pepper, and the Texas Longhorns.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Dossie Viva Gilbreath Rogers and John Ralph Rogers and his loving wife of 63 years, Laura Jane Hatley Rogers. He is survived by his children and their significant others: Lauralynn Rogers Mayfield (Ron) of Pearland, TX; Ralph Rogers (Mary) of Corpus Christi, TX; Thomas J. Rogers (Lori Custer) of Greensboro, NC; Charles Rogers (Alison) of Houston, TX; and Carolyn Rogers Beck (David) of Austin, TX. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Samuel, Sean and Janelle Mayfield; Kate and Madeline Johnston; Jordan Rogers (Simone Pitre) and Jonathan Rogers; Emily and Blake Rogers; and Tabitha Beck.
A viewing will be held at the Harrell Funeral Home in Dublin, TX at 1 pm, on October 15, 2022, followed by a graveside service at 3 pm in the Barbee Cemetery. There will be a memorial service for Tom and his wife Jane at First United Methodist Church, Georgetown, TX, on Sunday October 16, 2022. In lieu of flowers, you may make donations in his memory to the Dublin Historical Society, the Dublin Rodeo Museum, The United Methodist Church, or Planned Parenthood.