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Ronald Rogers

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Ronald William Rogers

Leicester - Ronald William Rogers, 82, died peacefully on Saturday, March 1, 2014.

A native and life-long resident of Buncombe County, he was the son of the late Conley William Rogers and Maude Gillespie Rogers. He was also preceded in death by his beloved wife of 32 years, Helen Penland Rogers, who died in 1988. He is the father of Connie Rogers-Newcome and husband Dr. Thomas L. Newcome, II; and a brother of, Robert Owen Rogers and his wife, Iris Avonne Rogers of Rutledge, TN. He has several nieces and nephews.

Ronald attended Western Carolina University (1949-1953) where he was an NAIA Helms Athletic Foundation All American selection. He was honored with that distinction and was the first NAIA player to be recognized three times. He averaged better than 20 points per game for his career and held all of the school's major scoring records for more than 20 years. His 44 points in a 1953 game was a record for 23 seasons. He also broke the North State Conference scoring records for game, season and career. He ranks third on Western's career scoring list with 1,960 points. He was the first Western Carolina basketball player to have his jersey and number (#15) retired in the Ramsey Center. He was a charter member of the Western Carolina University's Athletic Hall of Fame having been inducted in 1990.

In 1989, Ronald was inducted into the Western North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Leicester Hall of Fame in 2011. An accomplished all around athlete Ronald played for the Ecusta Industrial League Baseball Team where he was batting champion with a .468 average.

In 1953, Ronald served in the Army during the Korean War and was honorably discharged as Specialist 3rd Class. He also played basketball and baseball for the Army's Signal Core #181 Unit. He was decorated with the Army's National Defense Service Medal.

Ronald was a charter member of the Leicester Volunteer Fire Department. He was also a founding member of the Erwin Youth Basketball League in 1972. He was a member of the Democrat Men's Club and a member of Grace United Methodist Church in Leicester. In 1989 Ronald retired from BASF (formerly American Enka Company) after 36 years of service.

The family will receive friends from 2:00-5:00 PM Sunday, March 9, 2014 at Groce Funeral Home on Patton Avenue. A service of remembrance will be held at 5:00 PM, immediately following the visitation, with Rev. Vic Wilfong officiating. A service of committal will be held at 2:00 PM Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain. Honorary pallbearers will be Derrick Rogers, Keith Gossett, Terry Gossett, Ronnie Sluder, Belvin Hall, Bill Penland, Sam Smathers and Alvin Hutchinson.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Grace United Methodist Church, 876 Newfound Road, Leicester, NC 28748.

An online memorial is available at


Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Mar. 4, 2014
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