Obituary: Dorothy Rogers, 92, formerly of Ridgefield
Dorothy “Dottie” Jane Williams Rogers … “Dottie” (“Mrs. Rogers” to her students), aged 92 years, died on March 3, 2018. She died from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. She will be buried in Ridgefield, CT on May 12.
Dottie was born December 12, 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri to Robert E. Williams and Lucy Kelly McCall Williams. She lived many places in her life and attended 13 Elementary schools! Her childhood was spent during the Great Depression. Her Mom was often ill and in the hospital and her dad, a Master Carpenter worked for long periods with the era’s WPA, moving around from job to job. He helped build schools and other municipal buildings and even worked on the Hoover Dam.
Dottie lost her mother at age 13 and by then her 3 brothers, elder brother, ‘’Jim,” and two younger brothers, Frank and “Bill” were all sent to relatives to stay while their dad traveled for work all around the midwest and west. As a kid she loved to read and spent many hours at the public library where she got to know the librarians very well. They often recommended books to her! She enjoyed performing and had a beautiful singing voice. She liked school and worked hard to do everything she could to participate, wherever she was.
Dottie went to High School in Oakland, California where she was reunited with her dad and two of her brothers. Her youngest brother, Bill, grew up at her Grandparents farm in Hinton, OK. She was extremely popular and participated in many clubs and extracurricular activities in High School and later, college.
WWII was raging and many of the students, including her brother, Jim, enlisted before they graduated. Dottie was determined to go to college. She worked at many jobs after High School to pay for her education. Her tenacity and persistence made this possible! She attended three colleges over the 6 years it took to get her teaching degree; Redlands College, University of California at Berkeley and got her degree at San Francisco State College. She worked for years around her incredibly busy schedule and received her Master’s Degree from Western CT State College in August 1976.
She married in 1952 to William Wayne Chalmers Rogers and had three children. They were married 18 years and divorced in 1970. Bill was a Minister and Dottie taught wherever they landed for his Ministerial jobs. She taught school in: Concord, CA; Oaksdale, WA; Burton, WA; Berkeley, CA; San Bruno, CA; Porterville, CA; and Ridgefield, CT, where she taught at both Barlow Mountain and Scotland School. Dottie taught in Ridgefield for 27 years, from 1969 until 1996. She lived in Ridgefield for 44 years and then moved to an assisted living facility to Clarendon Hills, IL In 2014.
Dottie was an enthusiastic and accomplished teacher and tutor who rarely took a break, teaching summer school almost every summer of her career. “Mrs. Rogers” taught her students all the regular curriculum subjects as well as enthralling extra-curricular activities. She loved to share the outdoors with her students, going on walks with her kids in the area around the schools where she taught. She taught them how to identify all the local flora and fauna and collected items from the ground to use in art projects later on. She directed plays and performances. She taught her kids how to fold and cut masks, draw silhouettes and make seed pod wreaths, and how to complete a host of other projects to help them appreciate the importance of arts and crafts. She loved to read aloud to her students after lunch and recess. She read ‘chapter books’ (one chapter at a time to create suspense and interest)! She enjoyed sharing The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and loved to integrate the activities the family experienced on the ‘Prairie’ with her students in the classroom.
Dottie was an avid stamp collector and spent many many hours collecting, buying, arranging and organizing her stamps. Eventually she became “The Stamp Lady” at both Barlow Mountain and Scotland Schools and later at the Public Library in Ridgefield. Through stamps, she taught her students about History, People, Flora and Fauna, and other myriad subjects. She made sure that every participant in her classes got the stamps that were being discussed! She spent long hours at home preparing for and collating stamps to give away. She was a tough task master and a loving, caring teacher at the same time. She was passionate about her teaching and gave it her all, retiring in 1996 at the age of 70 (yes 70!).
Dottie grew up as a very independent, determined and strong minded young woman and remained that way the rest of her life. Dottie had a deep, abiding faith and spent a great amount of time participating and serving her church. Wherever she lived she was an integral part of the life of the churches she attended and served.
She began life as an American Baptist and then as a Congregational Church member. She was a Member of the Ridgebury Congregational Church in Ridgefield for 42 years, where she lent her lovely soprano voice to the choir on Sunday Mornings. She taught Sunday School, was on the Board of Deacons, and arranged and organized the church sponsored Arts and Craft shows. She organized and chaired the Mission’s Committee, she was the ‘Sandwich Lady’ for Meals on Wheels in town, provided flowers for the service, and served coffee during coffee hour. She supported her church in every way she could, and her membership was an incredibly important part of her life.
She is survived by 3 daughters, Christine E. R. Mickler (Patrick), Paula (Polly) R. Backes (Chris) and Kelly R. Tausanovitch (Peter); 9 grandchildren and 3 great-grandsons.
Dottie had an amazing life and her daughters and family are so proud of her.
Dottie will be buried on May 12, 2018, Saturday at Ridgebury Cemetery in Ridgefield at 1 p.m. to be followed by a Memorial Service and Gathering at Ridgebury Congregational Church adjacent to the Cemetery. The church and cemetery are at or near 605 Ridgebury Road, Ridgefield, CT.
In Lieu of Flowers we ask that contributions be made to The Ridgebury Congregational Church, 605 Ridgebury Road, Ridgefield, CT 06877.