Elizabeth Rogers had vivid memories of the day Charles Lindbergh flew from New York to Paris.
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After all, she was 10 years old when it happened!
After 101 amazing and wonderful years, Elizabeth died July 4. A memorial service celebrating her remarkable life will be held at 1:30pm on Monday, July 15, 2019 at the First Christian Church in Stillwater. She will be laid to rest at Highland Cemetery in Pawnee. Strode Funeral Home and Cremation is in charge of the arrangements.
She had a lifetime love of sports which started early. In September of 1927, her father took her to the newspaper office in Chickasha where editors had set up a new device called “radio”, so the assembled throng could listen to the Jack Dempsey-Gene Tunney prizefight from Chicago.
Then, when she was 22, she attended the 1939 New York World’s Fair, and saw the first-ever demonstration of another amazing new technology: television.
“I told them I thought it was remarkable,” she would later say. “But I told them that they would have problems with the curvature of the earth!”
Elizabeth was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma in 1917, to James Andrew and America Thomas Green. Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States, and the nation was still fighting WWI. Growing up in Chickasha during the Great Depression, she graduated from what was then the Oklahoma College for Women in 1939.
After attending graduate school at the University of Michigan, she took a job teaching English and Drama at Perry High School, where she met Murl Rogers, the school’s Vocational Agriculture teacher, with whom she would share her life.
The two were married in 1941. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Murl enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Together with their new daughter Ruthann, Elizabeth accompanied him to bases throughout the United States during WWII — even teaching school while he received flight training in Tulare, California.
After the war, the family settled in Hugo, Oklahoma, then moved to Stillwater in 1955 where Murl became director of the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association.
Over the course of the next four decades, Elizabeth served as that organization’s de facto First Lady and hostess. She was at Murl’s side manning registration tables at countless class reunions, alumni headquarters on football road trips and bowl games, and world tours.
Indeed, she loved to say, “I didn't attend OSU, I married it!”
On those many OSU tours, she traveled through dozens of countries throughout Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Matching her love of travel with her passion for history, she could recount minute details of every place she ever visited.
“The trips were planned for the Alumni,” she told the Stillwater News-Press in 2008, during a celebration of her 65 years with Church Women United. “I have been in most of the countries and continents of the world, except Antarctica.”
A passionate sports fan, she loved her Oklahoma State Cowboys, holding season tickets for football, basketball, baseball and wrestling for more than 50 years. She had vast knowledge of the sports and the players, and especially loved following OSU athletes in the NFL.
Elizabeth was a founding member and president of Church Women United in Stillwater, served as president of Lahoma and Christian Women’s Fellowship, and taught Sunday School for decades at First Christian Church.
Indeed, the church was her center. She said her parents carried her in shortly after birth, and she never left. Gifted with a beautiful voice and a love of music, even when her eyesight began to falter, to the end of her life she could still sing every verse of any hymn from memory.
A woman who loved reading, she was a member of the Potpourri Book Club, and delivered book review programs for clubs and organizations throughout the state. And she was a longtime volunteer at Stillwater Medical Center, where hundreds of babies departed the hospital wearing snug caps which she had knitted.
In 1993, she was honored by Oklahoma State with the Alumni Association’s Alumni Service Award for her longtime service.
Elizabeth was predeceased by her husband Murl, and a sister, Modena. She is survived by her daughter Ruthann and husband Jerry Waldrop of Stillwater; son John of Port Angeles, Washington; son Paul and wife Mary Kaye of Stillwater; son Charles and wife Nancy of Edmond; son Phil and wife Candace of Chicago; 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren; and beloved nieces and nephews throughout Oklahoma and across the nation.
Her children would like to thank the staffs and residents of Primrose Retirement Community in Stillwater and Southern Oaks Care Center in Pawnee, where she lived the last three years of her life, for their friendship and care, as well as the professionals of Physician’s Choice Hospice, who gave her such comfort in her final months.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Murl and Elizabeth Rogers Endowed Scholarship, c/o the OSU Foundation, 400 S. Monroe, Stillwater, OK. 74074.
Saddened as they are with her passing, her family rejoices that she is in the loving arms of her Savior Jesus Christ, and reunited with her husband Murl, who was her best friend and the love of her life.
“I had no large desire for material things,” she told the News-Press. “Faith, relationships, and being a strong Christian are important to me, living within my means and teaching those concepts to my children, and giving acts of service to the community brought peace and honor to my life.”
Condolences may be emailed to the family and an online obituary may be viewed by visiting www.strodefh.com .