CANASTOTA >> Jack Wm. Rogers, 87, passed away peacefully on June 29, 2014, surrounded by loving members of his family, at his home in Halfmoon, N.Y.
He was born on Jan. 7, 1927, in Detroit, Mich., a son of Roy and Hilda Mortensen Rogers.
He spent his early years in Detroit, and at age 17, he volunteered for service in the United States Navy
and served in combat operations in the Pacific Theater in World War II. He served his country for 23 years, through three wars, retiring from the Navy in 1967.
In 1968, Jack settled with his family in Canastota, N.Y., where he lived until 2010. He was employed at Perry Office Supply in Syracuse, rising to vice president of sales for his outstanding performance.
Later, he was one of the founders of Liverpool Stationers, serving as its vice president until his retirement in 1986. He was active in several civic organizations, and served as president of both the Greater Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, and the Syracuse Executives Association.
Jack was a past president of the Canastota Lions Club, where he was instrumental in obtaining a leader dog for a blind resident of Canastota. He was also a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus and served as Grand Knight of Oneida Council 473, later awarded an Honorary Life Membership by Council members.
He was very active in veterans' organizations, including the Fleet Reserve Association where he was a member for over 46 years.
He was a past Commander of Charles W. Miller American Legion Post 140 in Canastota, and the Madison County American Legion. In 1987, he initiated the reorganization of Post 140's Honor Guard, later chosen as New York State's Honor Guard of the Year for 1991. As Sergeant of the Guard, he participated in more than 100 military funerals. For over 30 years, he served as the Officer of the Day, calling the roll of the honored dead at Canastota's Memorial Day ceremony.
Jack also served as Vice Commander of the Sixth District of the American Legion, and was awarded a Life Membership by Charles W. Miller Post 140. He was a charter member of Canastota Veterans
of Foreign Wars Memorial Post 600, and served as a trustee.
As Commander of the Madison County American Legion, he reactivated the 40 et 8 Voiture in the county, and served as one of its Chef de Gare. He formed a countywide veterans committee to create the County War Memorial, honoring veterans killed in both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam, located at the Madison County Office Building in Wampsville, N.Y.
Later, Jack was made chairman of a veterans committee for the town of Lenox, which established a World War II war memorial that honors the names of more than 1000 local men and women who served their nation during World War II.
Active in his community, Jack helped form the committee that raised money to build the Carmen Basilio - Billy Backus Boxing Showcase; an effort that later led to the establishment of the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y.
He will be forever remembered by thousands of children and adults alike for his portrayal of Santa Claus. For 17 years, he entertained young and old, making dreams come true for underprivileged children and for those in nursing homes and hospitals.
Jack married Frances Seitz on Oct. 29, 1955, in Canastota.
Surviving besides his wife of 58 years, Frances, are: his four sons, CDR David M. Rogers, USN (Ret) of Ponte Vedra, Fla., Mark D. Rogers of Clifton Park, N.Y., John F. Rogers of Syracuse, N.Y., Eric Wm. and Heather Rogers of Toney, Ala.; three daughters, Lorraine J. and David Woodruff of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Elizabeth A. and Randy Cotton of Ballston Spa, N.Y., and Diane M. and Daniel DeRusso of Clifton Park, N.Y.; and 10 grandchildren.
Jack was predeceased by his parents, Roy and Hilda Rogers; brothers, Douglas E. Rogers of Detroit, Mich., and Morton A. "Bud" Rogers of Zephyr Hills, Fla.; and his sisters, Delores Pettis of Bellaire, Mich., and Aletta Isabel Bonin of Spokane, Wash.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, July 7, 2014, at St. Agatha's Roman Catholic Church, 329 N. Peterboro St., Canastota, where a funeral mass will be held. The Rev. Stephen P. Wirkes, pastor, will officiate. A U.S. Navy Honor Guard will render full military honors. Burial will take place in St. Agatha's Cemetery, Canastota. Calling hours will be held on Sunday from 1-5 p.m. at the J. Homer Ball Funeral Home, Inc., 201 James St., Canastota. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Agatha's Bereavement Ministry, 329 N. Peterboro St., Canastota, N.Y. 13032, with envelopes available at the funeral home.
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