Joseph Wilson "Joe" Rogers Sr.
1919 - 2017
{ "" }
Share Joseph's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Joe Rogers Sr., who co-founded the iconic all-night Waffle House diner in Avondale Estates in 1955, has died. He was 97.

Rogers, born in Tennessee in 1919, died Friday. He is survived by his wife, four children, nine grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Rogers co-founded the restaurant chain with neighbor Tom Forkner while working for the Toddle House chain. The pair had met when Rogers bought a house from Forkner, who was in the real estate business.

By 1961, the duo had four Waffle House locations, and Rogers joined the business full-time, helping expand the new chain across the country.

Today there are more than 1,500 locations.

Rogers and Forkner phased themselves out of the day-to-day in the 1970s but still spent time at the corporate headquarters in Norcross even in their mid-80s.

Rogers liked to stop by locations and get behind the counter.

"I'm not an executive, I'm a waffle cook," he said in a 2004 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A memorial service and celebration of life will be held Wednesday, March 8, at 1:30 pm at the Georgia Tech Hotel & Conference Center, 800 Spring Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30308. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Giving Kitchen, which provides assistance to Atlanta area restaurant workers (, or the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation (

Read more
A news article about Joe Rogers Sr. has been published on
Family-placed obituary about Joe Rogers Sr.
Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Mar. 6, 2017.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
145 entries
March 22, 2019
You were a good man who cared about people. You have given us a gift with the Waffle House franchise. My wife and I will continue to have waffles with a side of smoked country ham. YuM

Thank you
David Norris
July 25, 2017
I remember Mr.Rogers with a happy smile on his face . I first met him when I attended a Waffle House convention with my husband Robert Mcelhannon . He was a gracious host and I remember him laughing and shaking hands with the men and giving the wives a little quick hug . He was a great gentleman and first class all the way . I met his wife that day as well and she invited me to sit beside her during some of the planned events . I never forgot what a special lady she is and how dedicated to her husband she was . I never forgot how both made me feel so welcomed and part of this big family of Waffle House . Mr. Rogers left behind a legacy to his children and grandchildren , not only of a great business but also I think the legacy to realize with hard work any dream can come true . His son Joe Rogers Jr. Continued to build on his fathers dream and made Waffle House the great chain it is today . I know Joe jr. And his family made Mr. Rogers proud . We pray for the family and his beloved widow that they find comfort through our lord and Savior and know that so many grieve along with them . May you rest in peace Mr. Rogers knowing that you have given much to this country , your family and friends , emplyees and a place the working man can come to enjoy a good meal . Love you .
Diane and Robert Mcelhannon
July 12, 2017
I send my condolences to the family. May your mourning soon be overshadowed with hope and strength giving joy. Matthews reminded us, "happy are those who mourn, since they will be comforted,"- Matthews 5:3
Mia A
May 14, 2017
I'm going to sing a song called dancing in the sky listen and tell me how you think I did ok
saraha vance
April 21, 2017
If it wasn't for Mr. Rogers. A 50 year old woman like me with a not-so-good past would have never had a chance at a good job, working for a good company, like Waffle House. What a good servant he must have been to his country, his family, his fellow man. May he rest in peace always and forever more.
Lory Vance
April 18, 2017
It was a sad day on March 3 2017 for all wafflehouses
Rayder Gross
March 17, 2017
michelle plakas-kaiser
March 17, 2017
Thank you, Joe for Waffle House. In Anderson, S.C., the car lot where I worked was right beside a Waffle House on N. Main St. I got accused many times of not being at the car lot but at my office in the Waffle House. Homemade strawberry pies were the best and my old boss, Judson t. minyard loved the Waffle House eggs blended in a milk shake cupGod re t your soul and thanks for your contribution to Americana. May God comfort all at this time of loss.
Mike Grayson
March 14, 2017
Offering condolences for your loss. May your fondest memories, loving support of family and friends, and the wonderful provision God made by means of His loving kindness (John 3:16) help to strengthen and console your hearts during difficult times.
March 13, 2017
Dear Rogers family and friends,
Sending my deepest condolences to you. May you find comfort in God, who can be a refuge for you in your time of distress. ( psalm 9:9)
M Jackson
March 13, 2017
Valenda Newell
March 13, 2017
worked in waffle house many years . thank you mr rogers
millie toler
March 13, 2017
So sorry to hear that Joe Rogers, Sr., has dyed. May he rest in peace.
March 13, 2017
e f
March 12, 2017
One of the nicest men I have ever met. God Bless the Rodgers family.
Lyndia Walden
March 12, 2017
Blessings Family, this business has brought comfort to the wayward and all travel's. Thanks for being there. Praying for the Family.
Pastor James Grant
March 11, 2017
I did not know Mr. Rogers personally, but my Mother-in-law (Helen Rogers Winslow) was a friend of his, actually I believed she had dated Mr. Rogers before he joined the service during WWll. Mr. Rogers had lived on Deadrick Street in Jackson, Tn. She had been living in Bells, Tn. Nursing Home till she passed June 2015. Before she passed we (Daughter/Son-in-law) took the The Jackson Sun Newspaper and showed her the write up about The Waffle House and Mr. Rogers, she knew right away who it was without reading the article. I and several guys meet there every morning for coffee/breakfast. We do send our best to all family members. Mike McCullar - Jackson. Tn. GOD Bless ! Welcome to The Waffle House.
March 11, 2017
I remember going to a Waffle House on Piedmont Rd. in the Buckhead area of Atlanta about 10 years ago to have breakfast. I ordered a couple of eggs over medium, city ham, and hash browns scattered, smothered, and usual.

Behind the counter was an older fellow with his shirt sleeves rolled up cooking my breakfast, then I over hear a fellow employee call him Joe.

Yep, it was Joe Rogers cooking my breakfast! made a fine breakfast sir.
Walter Berman
March 11, 2017
So sorry about Joe.He will be dearly missed by many.We always enjoy going to the waffle house to set and have a decent home made breakfast. many thanks.may your family have peace and comfort from the god of all comfort during this very sad time.
March 11, 2017
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
March 11, 2017
Iam sorry for the loss.JOE ROGERS SR.will be remembered.PS 116:15. Precious in God"s eye.
March 11, 2017
My sincere condolences to the Rogers family I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I really love the Waffle House. May you find strength in the "God of all comfort" to help you to endure during this difficult time.

March 11, 2017
Dear Family... " Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, but Love leaves a memory no one can steal.
March 11, 2017
Our thoughts are with the family.
May the memories you share with family and friends remind you of a wonderful person, as God peace and comfort help you to endure.
Evans family
March 10, 2017
Love those stringy homefries
Douglas Solomon
March 9, 2017
Joe, I remember you as being the dude that made great waffles and even more. I have loved just about everything on the menu....especially the Fiesta omelet. Rest in peace Joe, and thanks for bringing Waffle House to all of us that has had the pleasure of dining there.
Patricia Ann Rogers
March 9, 2017
My deepest Condolences to the family of Joe Rogers Sr may you find comfort in knowing that others share your sorrow with you. Take Comfort in knowing that God keeps those who die in his memory because they are precious in his eyes. Psalm 116:15.
Mary Green
March 9, 2017
My sincere condolences to the Rogers family for the loss of your loved one, Joe. He certainly will be missed, but always remembered because of the many Waffle Houses. May you treasure the memories shared over the years and, may you find comfort in the encouraging words of John 11:11, 21-25, 40-44.
J. Lewis
March 9, 2017
What a sad day,,,the Waffle house is a must stop at on every adventure we take!
March 8, 2017
My heart goes out to you in your time of sorrow. May Gods promise of providing escape from death in the future sustain the family in your time of grief.
(Psalms 68: 20)
March 8, 2017
May the God of all comfort strengthen the family during this time of deep sorrow. Those who pass on, God keeps in his memory because they are precious in his eyes. My sincerest condolences. Psalms 116:15
Barbara Franklin
March 8, 2017
My husband and both work for waffle House will keep the Rogers family in my prayers RIP you will always be a legend Anthony & Jennifer Todaro #323 Jacksonville,Fl
Jennifer Todaro
March 8, 2017
Keeping the Rogers family in my prayers I am a former Waffle House employee and there was never a dull moment. RIP Joe Rogers Jr
Melyssa Benesch
March 8, 2017
'But Come Morning'
We offer our sincerest condolences and sympathies with much appreciation.

Condolences expressed by
District Manager Karl E. Davis

Photo Courtesy of
Joyelle Photography Art Corporation
Photographer Annette J. Davis
March 8, 2017
He was a wonderful person and his Waffle House is legendary. I have been eating breakfast there for thirty years and you get the same great food in every location across the country. Best waffle in the world!
Buck Irvan
March 8, 2017
To the family of Joe Rogers Sr., my sincere condolences on your loss, he was a very loved individual and his legacy lives on in his family. May all your wonderful memories comfort you at this time and help bring you peace. My deepest condolences, Lorraine Miller and family
Lorraine Miller
March 8, 2017
Thank u Joe.when I was 16 year old and I am 60 now ,you gave me a home at waffle House you and Joe Jr. were my life will be missed.
March 8, 2017
To the family of Joe Rogers Sr.

My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Rogers. It is apparent by all the comments given that Mr. Rogers will be missed by all who knew and loved him. Please know that God knows your pain and will fulfill his promise to restore life to those we may lose in death.

May God bring comfort to the Rogers family during this time of grief, sorrow.

Sincerely Yours,

EDO, Illinois
March 8, 2017
Thank you for providing me with a way to support my 2 sons as a single mother. It hasn't always been easy but after 21 years on and off with the company, I dont know how I would've made it without Waffle House. From unit 1798 in Central SC, our deepest sympathies.
Vicki Moore
March 8, 2017
I am so sorry for the family at the loss of beloved Joe. It was his people skill that endeared him to do many. The staff at Lester Eye Centre, along with Jess and I, we're honored to care for your family. He will be greatly missed. His character is his legacy.
Mrs. Debra Lester
Debra Lester
March 8, 2017
Matthew McGuire
March 8, 2017
RIP I am proud to have been part of the Waffle House family from 2014 until 2016. Thank you!!!!
Katherine Fuqua
March 8, 2017
My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Joe Rogers. May the God of unconditional love, console the hearts of the family during the loss of your dear loved one. During the days head, it will be a challenge, may the Heavenly Father give you the needed guidance and strength beyond what is normal to endure. Much love and respect to the family. My heartfelt Prayers are with you.-Psalms 121.
March 8, 2017
I'm so sorry; my heart goes out to you for your loss. There are no words to express our sadness when a love one passes but our loving God knows how you feel and comforts us with His word. (John 6:40 NWT)
March 8, 2017
Love your place never leave hungry what a nice man
Bob West
March 8, 2017
Growing up in Avondale Estates everyone knew the Rogers family led by Joe, SR. His kindness and spirit was apparent to those of us fortunate enough to know him. I saw Mr. Rogers at the Avondale Waffle House a couple years ago and spoke to him and was surprised he remembered me. My wife and I extend our sympathy to the Rogers family and am very glad we knew Joe,SR in this journey called life. Diane, Joe,Jr and Mrs Rogers and others please take care.
Jon Larry Flowers
March 8, 2017
I met Mr. Rodgers years ago when his daughter played piano for a band, Freeway (I think), out of Rehoboth Baptist Church in Tucker. He was a very kind and generous man. There are a lot of stories about his generosity. I was talking with Debbie once about Christmas and what she'd be doing. She said working at a WH. I asked her why since she normally doesn't work there (student in college). She said that her dad asked them all to work because how could he ask the employees to work on Christmas day and not his family, he felt it was only right that his family also work on holidays.

Years later, I managed a computer software store and one of my employees asked why I put myself on the schedule to clean the restroom. I told him, I would not ask anyone that worked for me to do something that I wouldn't be willing to do.

Although my meeting Mr. Rogers was brief, he made a lasting impression.
Scott Payne
March 8, 2017
I first heard We are not in the Restaurant Business, We are in the people business on my third day of work from Mr. Rogers in Nashville Tn. Thank you so much for the opportunity you gave me and so many others I enjoyed every minute I ever spent with you!God Bless you and your family. A great American!
Jim Hutto, Gulf Shores, Al
March 8, 2017
Joseph W. Rogers is the Founder of Waffle House.
Joseph W. Rogers is the Founder of Waffle House.
Grady Youngblood Youngblood
March 8, 2017
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
March 8, 2017
Joe Rogers Sr. was truly blessed to have lived to age 97! So many cannot say the same. May he forever live in our hearts and in God's book of life.
March 8, 2017
Waffle House want be the same without your input , Mr. Joe.
Connie Brown
March 8, 2017
Sorry for your loss.
Melissa Hood unit#1958
March 7, 2017
Did not know him but knew son Jr and based on that sr was a great father and man . The world moans . Condolences to family God bless all !!!!
Don O'Brien
March 7, 2017
Waffle house was my first waitress job. I was 18 years old and just starting my life. It has been 21 years and i still love waffle house. I will probably work there forever, even if it's only part time. No one understands unless they work there how we are like a great big family. I met Joe Rogers Sr. a couple of years ago in store 1285 and he treated all of us like family. He will truly be missed.
Jamie Milton
March 7, 2017
Waffle House and the Roger family have been a great asset to our country. We will all miss Mr Rogers Sr. and must thank him for the the legacy he has left us.
Hal Northrop
March 7, 2017
Sorry for your loss may there be comfort in knowning that god cares for you. 1 peter 5 :7
March 7, 2017
I had the pleasure to be Mr Rogers and the waffle House Corp office in Tucker mailman for many was really nice to me and sometime I would eat lunch with him at #74 rip papa Joe
Gary Singleton Hartwell georgia
March 7, 2017
We were privileged to have met him at the duck club that George Bryan was a member of. He and my husband bonded really well!Our condolences to you and your family, David and Jan Henry
Janice Henry
March 7, 2017
May the God of all peace bring comfort to the Rogers family and friends at this difficult time.
March 7, 2017
Thank u for the pleasure to be working for company this was my first waitressing job and i must say i have met and talked with plenty of in peace joe!!! store# 402 michelle
Michelle Anthony
March 7, 2017
Sr was a great man and a wonderful owner. Prayers for the family. Also praying for his Waffle House family
Patricia Holloman
March 7, 2017
It has been a pleasure working at the Waffle House! Serve them in the sky!!!!
Amanda Ford
March 7, 2017
So sorry for this loss. He was a great leader and man. My condolences to the family.
David Southers-Pomeroy
March 7, 2017
He was a great man. He will definitely be missed.
David Southers-Pomeroy
March 7, 2017
Dear Ruth and family,

So sorry to hear about Joe Sr. He was so kind to my parents.

We will keep you in our hearts and prayers.

God bless,

Steve and Shirlene Zipp ( one of the Welch girls)
Steve and Shirlene Zipp
March 7, 2017
Condolences to the family of Joe Rogers, Sr. I met with Joe, Sr. and Joe, Jr. many times during my years with Freeway Foods in Greensboro, NC. Jim Courtney
Sally & Jim Courtney
March 7, 2017
Thank you for Waffle House! I eat there every chance I get to my husband's chagrin! Heartfelt sympathy to his loved ones.
March 7, 2017
Rest in Peace
Scott Chamberland
March 7, 2017
Thoughts go out to family. Worked for company for several years.
Sam & Louise Myrick
March 7, 2017
I had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful man via my nephew, Stephen Arroyo, who was he and his wife's physical therapist. Joe was "everyman" and treated others as such--down-to-earth. Heaven just got more fun with Joe there!
Amy Burk
March 7, 2017
The FTD Cherished Farewell Arrangement
Send Flowers and Gifts
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
H. P. Nunnally, Jr
March 7, 2017
Sorry for your loss. May you rest in peace Mr. Joe.
Pamela Moak
March 7, 2017
BILLY DEE COX Wafflehouse jukebox
Billy Dee Cox
March 7, 2017
Donna Cesare-Andrews
March 7, 2017
March 7, 2017
I am so sorry for your loss. My absolute favorite is the Waffle House and go there at least once a week.
March 7, 2017
We'll miss you !
Adrian Barnette
March 7, 2017
My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Joe Rogers Sr. May you find comfort in the Almighty God who strengthens and comfort us in all our trials.
March 7, 2017
Thank You, Mr. Rogers for your vision and contribution to America. Your Legacy will never die.
Todd Rothwell
March 7, 2017
All of us at Free Spirit Salon wish to extend our deepest condolences to The Rogers Family at the loss of their beloved Joe.
A true gentleman in every sense of the word, Mr. Joe would always open the car door and the salon door as well for his beloved wife Ruth whenever she visited the salon, and he would also bring his larger than life smile into the salon talking with both staff and customers alike.
The business world has lost an Icon, but all of us today could take a page out of his everyday life and make the world a better place just as he did on a daily basis.
I consider my self very fortunate and blessed to have had a few conversations with such an incredible individual. He will be truly missed.

Victor Gallardo
Victor Gallardo
March 7, 2017
So deeply sorry about your loss. Thoughts and words of comfort in their time of grieving. May his loved ones rely on God for support Joe will be missed very much.
Ypsilanti, Michigan
March 7, 2017
Scattered, covered, and smothered for me.

R.I.P., Joe Rogers Sr. My wife and I will think of you every time we're in a Waffle House.
Jim Chambers
March 7, 2017
I first met Mr.& Mrs. Rogers at a dinner party on Lake Lanier in the 80s. It was a fun casual evening that I remember today. Joe was truly blessed in his long life with family and friends, memories and accomplishments. What a legacy for this special man "Joe Rogers"!
Minnie McLeroy
March 7, 2017
I worked at the Corporate Headquarters at one point, and it was always a great day when "Papa Joe" came thru the door and happily, greeted us at the switchboard. He was always So Kind and it was terrific he continued working into his 80's!(at that point) He & Tom Forkner were both, So Kind to me. Rest in Peace, "Papa Joe" You will certainly be Missed by So Many.
Judy Glatzer
March 7, 2017
In my prayers sorry for ur loss of a great man
E. Anne Hughes
March 7, 2017
Peggy Harris
March 7, 2017
Thank you Mr. Rogers. As manager of Waffle House 1994 in elizabethton TN, I thank you for your service and am grateful to work for a company such as Waffle House. Prayers and respect for you and your family.
Zachary Tillman
March 7, 2017
I will always remember Mr Rogers because of his direction for customer service. How his positive attitude was displayed whenever he strolled through the Corporate Office which was often. He inspired a lot of associates including me. I worked for Waffle House nearly 30 year and it was the best company I was ever associated with. Thank you Mr. Rogers.

My condolences to Mrs. Rogers and the whole Rogers family. He will be missed.
Ted Kapp
March 7, 2017
RIP, Senior. I will always remember our first conversation in your office(June 1994). I was interviewing for a position as a management recruiter. Somehow you found out I was a retired Army officer and invited me in for a chat. It was a fascinating conversation that convinced me I needed to be a part of this great organization. We met frequently during my 10 year tenure and you were always gracious and kind. I will always cherish those memories.
Andy Dulina
March 7, 2017
I remember papa joe. He always sat at the high counter and read his newspaper. He talked to all of the customers. He earned his name early on. Papa joe you rest now. You lead a life of fulfillment within the working world and your family. The legacy you leave behind, will continue on. You will always live on through emloyees and customers. Love you papa joe.
Christi Griffin
March 7, 2017
Prayers to your family Mr. Joe Rogers Sr.
Linnette Mohammed
March 7, 2017
The FTD Treasured Tribute Wreath
Send Flowers and Gifts
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
a loved one
March 7, 2017
A lot of good memories of Waffle House. Traveling in the cold through Pennsylvania on the way to home in South Carolina... provided a much needed respite from my journey. I've also spent great times in the morning with friends there. Joe sounded like a great guy, I wish I could have thanked him.
Skipper Davies
March 7, 2017
my heart goes out to this family, to all Waffle Houses, the employees, and the customers. i worked for waffle House 10 long years and ive personally met Mr. Joe. He was a great compassionate man and was loved by many.. you will be missed but never forgotten! Spread your wings and fly!!
Bridget Massey
March 7, 2017
R.I.P your legend will live on as a symbol of you.. I work many years for you since 2002 I later became a manager at 1014, 1178, 106, 717 and 994 I also was a district manager in athens.. I took care of my family through your company i am forever grateful.. Thank you
Laria Vides
March 7, 2017
Your company has put a lot of smiles on our family. Thank you and God Bless and God Speed. Condolences go out to your family.
Kevin Hill
March 7, 2017
He will be missed.AGreat man with a big heart.The Lord brought him home.WE know he will always be with us.Working for him was a honor and privilege.The restaurant business will not be the same.My condolences to his family and surley all of his friends.
John Benefield
March 7, 2017
Thanks for the opportunity Mr Rogers that you gave me to work at the wafflehouse for you and your family at unit #436 for 9 years but this isn't about me but about you and your service and long life after reading your story I'm convinced you were a people person and even though i didn't know you personally i will say fair well my friend.
Glen Coles
March 6, 2017
Condolences and thanks for being an inspiration.
Sherborne Reed
Could not load more entries
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences