Frank Wilfred ‘Will’ Rogers

Published 3:49 pm Friday, January 21, 2022

After weeks enduring a hard-fought battle with COVID-19 and several days having difficult conversations with God, Frank Wilfred “Will” Rogers made peace with Him on Jan. 15, surrounded by his loving family.

Will was born in Lynchburg in 1947 and raised lovingly by his parents, Frances G. Rogers and the late Frank Wilson Rogers, and his beloved Baba, the late Helen Gunter.

Will’s education, one of his most cherished and proudest pursuits, began in Appomattox and continued throughout his life. He was a graduate of Appomattox High School, Lynchburg College (B.S.) and the University of Virginia, (M.Ed.) He was a member of Osher, a Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Richmond.

Will began his professional career as a teacher in the public school system in Campbell, Appomattox and Pittsylvania Counties. While he coached various team sports at Dan River High School, basketball was his passion. He led the ‘Wildcats’ to multiple state championships during his five years as coach. He also served as assistant basketball coach at Averett College. Will’s passion for sports led him to referee both basketball and football for over thirty years.

Will served as the Director of EGO Alternative School in Pittsylvania County and remained invested in the lives of his former students and staff. In 1979, he accepted a position as the Executive Director of the Danville Association for Retarded Citizens (DARC), which included the Fred T. Hatcher Center.

In 1982, Will began his 32-year career as Executive Director of Crossroads Community Services Board in Farmville. The agency provides services for individuals with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and substance abuse in the counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward. In 1982, Crossroads served 345 persons with three programs; upon Will’s retirement in 2015, the agency was serving over 10,000 individuals in 28 locations annually.

Will is survived by his best friend and spouse of 37 years, Patricia Schultz Rogers. Also surviving are his five cherished and unique children, Amanda Jordan (Eric), Penny Garrett (Bryon), Julie Rogers, Matthew W. Rogers (Ashley), Zachary Rogers, and a special addition, Rebecca Lowe.

He was ‘Papa Will’ to his eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, each of whom were his ‘favorite’ and a blessing in his life. He was a devoted son to his mother, Frances Rogers, who survives him and whom he leaves in the care of his loved ones. He leaves behind a sister, Helen Trent; a brother-in-law and his wife, Gary and Deborah Schultz; a sister-in-law, Joan French, along with a host of nephews, nieces, cousins and friends that were always described as ‘the best.’

Faith sustained Will and he lived a life of servitude. He could often be found on the back porch with family or friends who entertained, supported and loved him. He found joy in simple pleasures and required little to be at peace with himself and those that he loved. He was an ardent fan of UVA sports, especially basketball (Go Hoos!), but could also be spotted at a U of R game (Go Spiders!). He had a passion for the arts, frequently enjoying the theater, museums and concerts. He loved quiet walks, peaceful days on the beach (especially in Cape May with his fun-loving extended family) and long afternoons in his kayak or on his bicycle.

In lieu of flowers, please consider praying for the departed, touching another person’s life in Will’s memory, or donating to St. Peter’s Catholic Church (designate the donation for the Outreach Program), 800 East Grace Street, Richmond, VA, 23219.

A mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Edward’s Catholic Church, 2700 Dolfield Drive (intersection of Huguenot and Dolfield Roads), North Chesterfield on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 1 p.m., followed by inurnment at the Church’s Columbarium.

MASKS ARE REQUIRED!

“This is what the Lord asks of you; only this, to act justly, to love, tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.”

The mass will be livestreamed at https://facebook.com/St.EdChurch/videos/?ref=page_interna at 12:50 p.m.