subject my dad's eulogy from jan 20 1978 written and given by a very young John Grisham

by SallyForth » 2015-01-19 10:24:02 #9650


[size=2]ROBERT ROGERS [/size]

Call to Worship:

Jesus said: 
"I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, 
even though he die, he will live, and whoever lives and believes 
in me will never die. 
Come to me, all you who labor and are over burdened, and I 
will give you rest." 

Eternal God, guardian of our lives: we confess that we are children of dust, 
unworthy of your gracious care. We have not loved as we ought to love, nor 
have we lived as you command, and our years are soon gone by. Lord God 
have mercy upon us and raise us to new life, so that as long as we live we 
may serve you, until when dying we enter into the joy of your presence. 

Almighty God, whose love never fails, and who can turn the shadow of death 
into daybreak: help us to receive your word with believing hearts, so that 
hearing the promises that are found in Scripture we may have hope and be 
lifted out of darkness into light. 

Psalm 8: 

Funeral Meditation: 

Romans Ch. 8 


o God, before whom generations rise and pass away: we praise you for all 
your servants who, having lived this life in faith, now live eternally with you. 
Especially we thank you for your servant, Robert Rogers, for the gift of hislife, for the grace you have given him, fo~ all in him that was good and kind and 
faithful. We thank you that for him death is past, and pain is ended, and he has 
entered the joy you have prepared; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I 
give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship 
of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen. 

1921 ~ 1978 

Billions and billions of years ago 
Long before any creatures roamed this planet 
Long before there was a planet earth, 
A great and awesome heart beat pulsed the universe 
and with power and care formed the massive stars and the planets. 
Even this wondrouse planet with all of its life given resources 

,and in love the Creator formed the greatest miracle of all. 

How or precisely when we do not know -but 
His miracle was a creature that stood erect 
and spoke a language A 
'creature capable of receiving God's love 
and passing it on. 

The Creator looked at what he had made and said, "that's good".
And in love he continued to surge up in new creatures 
each one unique and special, each one no less a miracle from the other. 

In the midst of the joy of God's creating activity throughout these billions 
of years, one child appeared, born December 4, 1921 -a new miracle -a new cr.eation 
-and at the moment of his birth it was almost as though all of the meaning 
and beauty of the universe had come to focus in this, the son of Walter Leo and 
Mary Paver Rogers. No doubt the news spread quickly among the residents of the 
Village by the river scattered in their homes along Winfield Road and Aurora Road 
and Jackson and Main and First. A baby boy was the news -for the Pavers and 
Rogers. A "baby boy" was the word through the village at the evening meal that 
day of Staffords and Andersons and Fredericks and Mannings and Mounts and folks new 
to town like the Conklins. And so this boy child was born into a family and community 
and grounded in a place and his life was to be that community and its life 
was to be his. 

If December 1921 brought joy, so the spring of 1922 brought double grief to 
the village by the river, as within hours of each other, Mary Paver and her 
neighbor up the road, Arline Triplett, were stricken -each leaving infant sons 
behind. The grief must have been immense for the 400 or so residents of our 
village and it carried its dead to join the others who had found their final resting 
place in the Warrenville Cemetery. 

Robert Rogers was cared for by his grandmother, Mary Paver, in the Paver 
home at Jackson and Fourth Street, just across from the old Baptist Parsonage. 
There the men of his life were named Ed and Howard and Chuck, and, of course, 
Esther was there too before she and Chuck finished their new house over on the 
Steadman place in '28. Sometimes as a small boy he would ride in the mail truck 
with Chuck as he made his daily Naperville route, and he would later join the Fire 
Department, when Chuck was fire chief. Money was scarce -but that need not be a 

problem for a boy in a small town -there was always plenty to do. Sometimes he 
would pick up and deliver laundry for his grandmother in his little red wagon. 

But to speak of his life is to speak of his town as he watched and observed 

and helped -known by all -knowing everyone. 
He watched as they replaced the steel bridge over near Adam Emory Albright's 
house with concrete and paved the road from Rt. 59 to Naperville in '25. 

And was there as they paved Batavia Road in '26. 
He watched as the crews knocked out a basement wall and began to excavate with 
horses and a scoop digging the basement under the old Baptist Church -walking
the horses clear back under the church to drag out the dirt. 


He began school with Dick Anderson and John Mack'and Bill Stafford and 

the other children of Warrenville at the four room Holmes School up by the track. 
From there he no doubt watched the Bank and the IGA grocery burn in '32 
And personally supervised the work crews as they labored at Community Buildingbeing built as a WPA project just across the street. 
And, of course, he watched as the old Baptist Church burned on December 19, 

1935 -helplessly as the landmark when he attended Sunday School Classes 
taught by Harriet Conklin, went up in smoke because there was no Warrenville 
Fire Department. 

As a resident of this village by the river, it was natural that this child 
of the '20s be drawn to the river and it was there that he could often be found who 
could ever know where he might be or what he might be doing in the river, 
from the bluffs above Triplett farm, to Triplett farm, to Graveling Point near 
the old mill, down to Indian Head. Those were the places he swam and fished and 
trapped for muskrat and mink. Diving down in the deepest hple in the river in 
summer, ice skating in the winter, riding ice cakes down stream after the spring 
thaw, fishing and swimming in the summer, and setting traps along the river's 
edge in the fall -a financially lucrative venture that required setting traps 

each morning before dawn and then checking the traps each evening after school. 
An enterprise that his grandmother Mary did not always encourage because she felt 
the growing school boy instead needed her help. 

But who can circumvent the enthusiasm of a boy? At night before going to 
sleep he would dangle a string tied to his wrist from the second story window 
that Lloyd Mack who apparently had less difficulty waking might give it a tug 
and that the two might be off and away to the river in the pre-dawn hours. 

He attended Wheaton Central High School, as did all of the sons and daughters 
of Warrenville, the village by the DuPage in those days. Riding the train, catching 
a ride with friends or walking and jogging along the fields and estates toward 
Wheaton. If the river was the place he could be found as a boy, the athletic 
field was where he could be found as a young man-basketball, track and baseball ah 
yes, baseball, and the Warrenville Cyclones and the dream of every boy. A sort 
of rite of manhood as every boy from the village by the river sought to win a 
starting position on the team -In those pre-war years his was third base as "they 
played across from the Cenacle and later on a field on Rogers Street east of 
Warren and finally at the V.F.W. 

Strong, swift, daring, known by all and friend of all -there is more to be 
said of childhood and youth I save those stories for you to tell each other. 

During his senior year in High School Swede Rogers -so called because there 

were too many "Roberts" and because he lived with his maternal grandmother -met 
June Holm and set about to win her heart -the one who would love him and endure 
greatly with him. They were married in 1944, the year he joined the Warrenville 
Fire Department. They lived for 3 years with Vic Fletcher in his house just two 
doors south of the old Paver place. It was to that house that June brought Denny 

horne from the hospital. As a fireman his reputation was that of a smoke eater strong 
and able and willing, the same characteristics that no doubt gave him the 
ability to live when others would have sooner chosen to die. 


We smile to think of how he talked June into the idea of borrowing the 
incredible sum of $3,500 and he set about to build a house for his family on 
Rogers Street when there were few houses and no trees down that "lay -a home for 
his growing family, soon to include Jane and Rob. He worked hard as a,carpenter, 
he enj'oyed being with his friends -perhaps to a fault-and lived life vigorously. 

Then on July 20, 1957 tragedy. His strong body immobilized by a broken neck 
suffered in a swimming accident -the reasons why no longer matter, but his life 
and testimony to us does. And somehow it is there that we must now turn. 

The weeks and months that followed the summer of 1957 were a literal hell 
for Swede Rogers and the members of his family -touch and go from moment to moment 
with physical disfigurement and incredible human pain. There was no explanation as 
to why life should continue or how or why it could continue. But life did continue 

Because the will for life was there 
and because of immense love and sacrifice on the part of June 
and because of a ground swell of love to concern to help from the community 
as Warrenville wept and prayed and became present with physical expressionsof concern. Storm windows and paint, groceries and household goods, nursing 
care and medical attention and'emotional and spirited support. Mrs. Lesh as 
she baked a birthday cake each year for 20 years (her own son an invalid for 
10 years -also from a broken neck). Mrs. Ruby Huebner as she stopped and 
fed him sweet rolls and donuts, and countless others. There is no reason that 
Swede could have lived these years except for those -and so that he might 
witness to us about life and its meaning as he 

Never complained.
As he cheered for others -and was deeply sensitive to the hurts and 
tragedies and pains of others -reminding us who live that adversity can 
harden and fill us with hate or it can find us with sympathy and understanding 
and love. 
As he never wavered in his trust in a loving God. Know that God has not 
promised us that life will be easy -promising instead his presence and 
strength when life is impossible. 
As he taught us by these three that the quality of life is not to be 
determined by success or beauty or fame or by having arms and legs that 
work. The quality of life has something instead to do with love and faith 
and charity -the kind of things that come from our hearts. 
As few persons ever left his bedside without the feeling that they themselves 
had been visited -and they themselves healed. 
Last Friday Swede Rogers passed into eternity like a mountain stream that 
finally has reached the ocean. Perhaps the most fitting memorial to his life would 
be that we might be sensitive of the pain of others because he was sensitive to our 
pain. That we might refuse to complain and engage in the unproductive enterpriseof "awfulling" because he refused to do so. That we might seek out and draw uponthe love of God for the living of life. 

Now Swede is gone from this earth and is received by God's love in a way we 
simply do not understand, even though his body simply could not go on any more it 
still hurts to say goodbye. Tears are appropriate now and in the days to come, 
for we do not lightly let go of someone for whom we cared so much. lilesorrow 
not because we lake faith -but because God made us to care so much .

Swede now takes his place in history as one who was beautiful. And the God 
Almighty who called him into being and sustained him now receives his life as totallyworth while, complete and acceptable in his sight. His love now gathers him up in 
ways none of us know fully. 

we also be opened to this vast ocean of love as we live and he did.