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Louise Rogers (Rogers) Doggett

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Louise Rogers (Rogers) Doggett Obituary
Louise Rogers Doggett
If you followed the lives of San Francisco's prominent families and civic leaders during the 1930s, '40s and '50s, you knew of the family of William Lister Rogers.
The patriarch was a 1924 Olympic gold medalist, Stanford trustee, hospital chief of staff, WWII combat surgeon in the Pacific Theater and nationally respected thoracic surgeon who treated persons inflicted with pulmonary tuberculosis years before the disease was understood and before an antibiotic had become
His equally impressive wife, Dorothy, led the political battle that preserved Fort Point at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, directed the World Affairs Council of Northern California, served as the first female president of San Francisco's Council of Churches, and received the highest honor Lebanon bestowed upon civilians, for her contribution to the American University of Beirut, where she served on the Board of Trustees.
Among the Rogers' three children was Louise, who passed away, mercifully without pain, of pancreatic cancer on July 22 at age 76.
In a family of high achievers who often appeared in the city's society pages, Louise never thought of herself as better than anyone else. She never complained even when confronted with ordeals that would have defeated others. She was adored for her sense of humor and fun-loving nature, and spent her adult life selflessly committed to motherhood.
"Her love of her family was always part of every conversation," recalls longtime friend Norma Watson. "She was generous with her friends and her children's friends… I never heard her say a negative word, and certainly she had many challenges to overcome."
Married to Dr. Scotte Doggett at Stanford Memorial Church in Palo Alto on September 7, 1957, Louise gave birth to a healthy girl 14 months later. But soon after, while the couple lived in Manhattan, Wendy developed tuberculous meningitis causing neurological disabilities for which her parents committed themselves to providing years of physical therapy and special education.
Because of their efforts, their first child was able to walk again and lived a happy and independent life until it was cut short by a tragic accident at age 40. More than 300 people attended Wendy's memorial service, which was as much a testament to the joy she brought to those with whom she related as it was to her parenting.
Her son, Scott, and other daughter, Victoria completed the family. They are forever grateful for the sacrifices their mother made on their behalf and her boundless support. She provided more than enough examples to form the basis of a book on how to be a compassionate and joyful human being.
One of their fond memories of Louise is how she relished her gardening. After the family moved to Sacramento, where her husband founded the first of a series of cancer-treatment centers, Louise spent time toiling in her garden and, later, a community garden in neighboring Fair Oaks.
It was there that she met a young couple who shared her passion for plants. The couple had a baby that was delivered with complications, and seeing their need and without expectations, Louise helped cover their substantial medical costs.
Louise never mentioned the story, but later the young mother told Victoria, "Your mom was an angel. I'll never forget her generosity."
Sadly, Louise suffered from late-onset bipolar disorder, but she refused to let it crush her splendid spirit or her passion for correspondence. The condolence cards that poured in following her death are filled with moving sentiments about lovely letters she often wrote over the years.
"She was always so 'up' and cheerful and had that wonderful giggle, smile and style," said lifelong friend Bobbie Butler. "I was always happy to be around her."
Unlike her parents, Louise wasn't honored with medals nor did she preserve any historical landmarks. But she raised three children as well as anyone could, gladly and without complaint. She left behind countless fond memories of her. She was a wonderful person.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Louise attended Grant School from kindergarten through seventh grade, Catherine Delmar Burke's School through high school, and she graduated from Stanford University in 1956.
She is survived by her son Scott Doggett, her daughter Victoria Doggett and Victoria's husband John Blount; her former husband, Dr. Scotte Doggett; her brothers Doug and Reid Rogers; and her stepmother Dorothy Rogers. A private memorial service is planned. In lieu of flowers, Louise would have favored contributions to Sacramento Waldorf School, Community Garden, 3750 Bannister Road, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 8, 2010
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