Volume 2, Issue 5
May 2003
Henry Rogers keeps the raven confounded

Officially deemed the "Chaplain Emeritus" of the Rotary Club of East Jefferson County, Henry Rogers is known for his wisdom, sharp wit, and ease before a crowd.

While many of you may have had a glimpse into Henry's past, when he spoke last month on early radio and TV broadcasting, there is much more to Henry's story.

In 1919, Deerborn, Mich. was known as "Fordson".  Henry Ford's motor company was born there; and so, too, was Henry C. Rogers, Jr.

Henry Rogers and our 2003 President Milt Morris.

"My father was killed when I was 5 years old," Henry said. Originally a structural steel foreman for Ford, Henry Sr. became a residential contractor. He died on the job.

In those days before welfare, Henry's mother, Laura, went to work cleaning houses. She was 25.

An only child, Henry was a typical kid. Misbehaviors ensured that the willow tree in the back yard stayed well-pruned. Halloween, he recalled, does tend to bring out the devil in a 13-year-old.

"They were mild pranks," insisted Henry, now 83. "Like tipping over the outhouses, which were prevalent in those days." The town's 10 p.m. curfew no doubt curtailed a lot of shenanigans.

By the time her son graduated from the Ford-built Fordson High School, in 1938, Henry's mother was the manager of the school's cafeteria. Young Henry couldn't get away with anything — word always got back to Mom.

"She was a great gal. Loved to laugh, but she was a feisty one," Henry chuckled. "You couldn't get anything past her. She was 94 when she passed away."

Word of Henry's interest in pretty young Marjorie Last no doubt got back to Mom, too. "We became high school sweethearts," Henry smiled. But they parted ways. Henry began classes at the Henry Ford Community College (now Wayne State College). Continued


Upcoming Programs
Thursdays at noon

June 5
Jim Buck, R
24th District Representative

June 12
Don Young
Puttin' on the Ritz

June 19
Clint Weimeister

June 26
Glen Huntingford
Forest issues

July 3
No meeting

July 10
Adrian Dronkert
Prion Disease
"Mad Cow Disease"

July 17
Shannon Rideout
ID fraud

July 24
Teri Normura
Chris Ota
Affordable Housing

July 31
Laurie Strong
JeffCo Mental Health


Rotary scholarship update

The Rotary Scholarship Committee had 29 applicants: five from Quilcene High School; 21 from Chimacum High School; two adult community members, who are going back to school; and one second-year college student, who got a scholarship from us last year.

Of the 29, 21 have SAT scores of 1000, or above. (A 1000 SAT score puts the student in the 47th percentile of all college-bound students nationwide.) Eight of these 21 scored 1200 or above. A 1200 SAT score ranks at about the 70th percentile of college bound students. Three scored 1400 or above — these three are in the 97th percentile and higher. One has a perfect score of 1600 (99th percentile) in both English and math.

Can you imagine how hard it was for John Barrett and his scholarship committee to select from that group of worthy candidates? It was tough, but they did it.

Lillian Kuehl
Quilcene High
Randi Rowe
Chimacum High
Emmett Lalish
Chimacum High
Teresa Babboni
Emilie Baker
Quilcene High
Adrian Pike
Chimacum High
Marin Gurnee
Chimacum High
Justin Peters
Chimacum High
Jori Pearsall
Chimacum High
Shawn Katsikapes
Chimacum High
Rachel Garcia
Chimacum High
Alanna Rowe
Chimacum High
Jared Thacker
Chimacum High
Cristina Pacheco
Chimacum High
Eradicate Polio quilts bring in big bucks

The Rotary Club of East Jefferson County was delighted to have Pam White, wife of District 5020 Governor Ross White, select the winner of an "Eradicate Polio" quilt during one of our recent luncheons.

Pam came up with the idea of a quilt fundraiser. That successful brainchild has added about $10,000 to the The Rotary Foundation's "Eradicate Polio" program.

Two quilts were raffled off, one in the U.S. and one in Canada. Pam drew the winner of the Canadian quilt. Her counterpart, in Canada, drew a U.S. name on the same day.

"East Jefferson County was the only club to do two squares," Pam noted, adding that 81 volunteers worked on the quilts.

Thanks to the efforts of Rotary and its global partners, the world is on the verge of totally eradicating the poliovirus that has destroyed so many lives in so many nations of the world. Since 1988, the number of polio cases has dropped by 99.8 percent, thanks heavily to the efforts of. . .and dollars given by. . .Rotarians around the world.

In 1985, when Rotary's PolioPlus campaign was launched, it was deemed one of the most ambitious humanitarian efforts ever taken on by a private entity. The program's goal is a polio-free world by 2005.

Pam White drew the name of the winner of the beautiful quilt behind her. Larry Howland assisted.

Have you signed up to get District Governor Ross White's newsletter? To get it via e-mail, as it is published, send a blank e-mail message to join-5020dgnews@avlist.ca , and you'll be automatically subscribed.

Bates honored by DG

Bates Thomas received a special recognition from District 5020 Governor Ross White for his outstanding effort in the "Eradicate Polio" campaign.

Thousands of dollars has been collected for the campaign from RC of East Jefferson County members, in large part, due to the persistence of this former District Governor of Georgia. And, have no fear, Bates isn't through with us yet!

Congratulations, Bates, for a recognition well deserved!

RC newsletter wins in regional competition
The Rotary Club of East Jefferson County's e-newsletter earned a second place honor, competing against other medium size clubs, at the Rotary District 5020 Conference 2003, in Nanaimo, B.C., May 16-18.

"Thank you for your entry and the excellent QUALITY you produced!" Hank Mann-Sykes, District 5020 Public Relations Chair, wrote to editor Sandy Hershelman.

Seven media experts judged the competition. None were Rotarians.

The district conference is held annually to celebrate the service to humanity performed by the more than 5000 men and women, who belong to the more than 80 Rotary clubs in communities from Port Hardy, B.C., in the north, to Woodland, WA in the south.

District 5020 is the sixth largest in the Rotary world, which is made up of 530 districts in 163 countries containing 31,000 clubs with 1.2 million Rotarians.

"Well done on the whole matter of keeping your club informed," added District Governor J. Ross White, who has been receiving our newsletter for the past year.

H.J. Carroll pavilion project progresses

Ladies and gentlemen, ready your shovels and hammers! There is finally a projected start date for our long-range project, a pavilion at H. J. Carroll Park.

Frank Trafton met with Jefferson County officials and engineer Ryan Tillman on May 30 to get the plot plan, the landscape plans, and the revised building plans.

A Larry Howland creation

"We will be submitting for a building permit next week and will start the process of getting pricing for construction and materials next week, also," Frank said. "At this point, we are looking at starting the project the end of June or the first part of July."

Jim Larimer has stepped forward to be the volunteer coordinator.

RC honors two CHS students

Chimacum High School teacher Gaye Martin had the privilege to introduce "Students of the Month" Justin Peters and Gerene Garcia to the Rotary Club of East Jefferson County.

Gerene, 18, is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eric Selberg, of Port Ludlow.

President Milt Morris, Gaye Martin, Justin Peters and Gerene Garcia.

"I nominated Gerene because she cheerfully put in so much extra effort in both of the classes I had her," Mrs. Martin said. "As an independent project, she is even finishing a quilt that she started in the interior design class."

Justin, the 18-year-old son of Chimacum's Jim and Vicki Peters, was nominated by librarian Debbie Dodd.

"Justin is my library assistant. He is a great young man, very pleasant and helpful. He willingly does whatever is asked of him," Mrs. Dodd said. "He's become the recycler for the high school and the district office. He made up his own schedule for recycling — and I don't have to worry about if it's getting done. He is very consistent and dependable. He keeps his schedule and tells me when the dumpsters are full and need to be emptied. I've gotten positive feedback from staff about his professional attitude when he picks up the classroom recycling. He's an all around good guy!"

A Bit of Fun!

Pam just discovered a hamster had made a home amongst the raffle tickets. The hamster was even more surprised than Pam was when she grabbed the fat, furry, little critter.
An editor rejects photos for a reason, but, gosh, it sure is fun to make up captions. . .especially when it's 1 a.m.

King of Swing! (Henry's story continued . . .)

"I was either going to be an actor or a musician. I was the front man and played the bass in a (12-to-18-piece) swing band — Henry Rogers and his orchestra," Henry recalled. "Swing and sway the Rogers' way and to hell with Sammy Kaye" was their slogan —  a take off of Kaye's "Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye".

Dance halls flourished across the county, and the young musicians were paying their way through college. They were even featured on NBC radio's "Fitch Summer Band Wagon".

The year was 1940. The same year the draft was enacted. The start of World War II changed everything.

"Everyone in the band got their notices and were called up right after New Year's, except me," Henry recalled. He opted for the Merchant Marines.

Henry was home on leave and once again dated Marjorie. He could not forget her. They married on October 5, 1946.

The musician went to work on Wall Street, as an insurance adjuster calculating losses for the ships, private and otherwise, that sank during the war.

"You have to remember, going to war, your whole outlook changes, your dreams," Henry reflected.

Henry later did a three-year stint in New York City's Hell's Kitchen, as the personnel and labor relations director of the world's largest kosher meat packing company. And, no, he's not Jewish.

"My first love was being at sea," Henry admitted. He quickly agreed to take a job on the Great Lakes, with a company whose 5,000 passenger boats had cruised the lakes since the turn of the century.

"The job also brought me closer to home to my mother," Henry added.

Five children would bless the Rogers' home: Henry C. III ("Buck"), the twins Paul and Nancy, Catherine, and Eric. Grandbabies followed decades later.

What's television?

In 1949, television was in its infancy. Few homes had the tiny-screen TVs. All broadcasts were live. Video tape hadn't yet been invented. National broadcasting was years away. Into this picture enters Henry — as a horse's rear end.

"I called home and said, 'Marge, I won't be home for supper, but go over to one of the neighbors who has a television. I'm making my television debut as the rear end of a horse'," Henry laughed.

When his friend — the head of production who had gotten him into this in the first place — told Henry the front end of the talking horse was sick, Henry was promoted to the, shall we say, head of the act. His lines were pasted to the inside of the horse's muzzle.

"I started the show leaning up against the fence with no rear end. During the show, I felt the rear end (of the costume) lift up and a guy got into it," Henry chuckled. "I ran all summer long as the talking horse."

During the next 20 years, Henry rose from those auspicious beginnings to business manager for the broadcast stations of the Detroit-based Evening News Association.

"Television was changing so rapidly. The changes in technology were coming every week. We didn't even have networks across the country back then. I can remember the celebration (in the mid-1950s) when they got the signal across the country. Then, in the '60s, came video," Henry recalled.

Henry was one of the founders and a president of the Institute of Broadcast Financial Management, which is still going strong.

"In 1970, I left the Evening News Association to go to Los Angeles, to Chris-Craft Television Broadcasting. Yes, the boat guys," Henry confirmed. "We got there just in time for the big earthquake."

Getting the company's house in order was the new financial officer's first duties. Buying more properties to expand the three-station (Los Angeles, Portland and Minneapolis) firm was next. Henry successfully negotiated the purchase of Puget Sound's KSTW Channel 11, but Chris-Craft's board of directors turned it down.

"Television was going through a tremendous change and there was no control of it because it was done manually. Keeping track of commercials was impossible," Henry recalled. He began work on a computer system to organize it all.

When Henry left the firm in 1974, he took his computer system with him. "Compunet" would end up in 114 stations across the country.

"In 1978, it was bought out by Control Data and I retired," Henry smiled. Retirement was short-lived. "People kept calling me for advice so, like everyone, I hung out my shingle."

In 1980, Henry retired again and went to the Solomon Islands, where Marjorie worked on her masters degree, producing educational materials for the soon-to-be independent islands. While Marjorie worked, her hubby played.

Lure of Hadlock

A peek at Marjorie's Solomon Islands' educational trunk of historical items was requested by the organizers of a United Nations seminar, held in the London Commonwealth Museum. It was the perfect excuse for the Rogers to spend six months touring the British Isles.

While on a ferry, they met Port Townsend's Kate Jenks and her daughter. Conversation turned to the Rogers' quest for a new home site. Kate suggested they visit Port Townsend. They did and they loved it.

"When we came across the bridge in Portland, I said to Marge, 'We have to remember this date, July 1, 1985. We're entering Washington and this is where we're hanging it up'," Henry recalled.

Day after day, the pair left their Port Hadlock rental to scour the peninsula looking for a home to buy.

"One day at breakfast, I said to Marjorie, 'We're nuts. We're looking for the grail everywhere and it's right here in Hadlock'," Henry said.

The duo bought a little cabin on the "Greenspot", just a stone's throw from the Portage Canal Bridge. Eighteen years and 1,200 additional square feet later, they have the home of their dreams, with a dynamite view.

"I always wanted to build and I think if I were to do my life over again, I'd be a good carpenter," Henry decided, having done his home's remodel himself. A regret? "Oh no, I don't have any regrets. I don't look back. I look to the future and see what's next."

Citizen of the Year

Henry was named the Port Hadlock Chamber of Commerce's 1996 Citizen of the Year. He was nominated as a "living monument to the meaning of active community service" and joined the ranks of earlier winners, including the 1994 Citizen of the Year, his very own Marjorie.

"Being named Citizen of the Year was a real surprise. It was a real humbling experience. If not THE greatest, it was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me," Henry admitted.

The year 1996 also marked the couple's 50th wedding anniversary.

Since moving to Port Hadlock, Henry's local activities have included the Rotary Club of East Jefferson County, of which he was president in 1990-91. He was a major organizer for many of the Rotary's "Puttin' on the Ritz" annual fund raiser galas. He is also, if you recall, the originator of our "Scam", that creative little game that adds a few extra bucks to the club's coffers each week.

Port Hadlock's Community United Methodist Church benefits from Henry's untiring service, as does Chimacum Schools. In 1994, Henry was the co-founder of the Friends of Chimacum Schools. FOCS is an education foundation organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes; essentially founded to promote education and to provide scholarships. Through it, funds may be solicited and received; and gifts, endowments and bequests accepted for the benefit of Chimacum Schools.

"If we, as a nation, are going to survive, we really have to do something about our education system," Henry once declared. "That's one of the reasons I got this Friends of Chimacum Schools started."

Busier yet in 1994, Henry spearheaded the first-ever "Jefferson Days" — the popular old fashioned July 4th family celebration, based on Indian Island.

In 1995-96 Henry was a director of the Jefferson County Historical Society's board and a member of the Jefferson County Law and Justice Advisory Council.

The rhody gardens at Fort Worden grew more beautiful over the years, thanks to Roger's efforts, as well as the efforts of the devoted members of the local chapter of the American Rhododendron Society.

"I love the Hadlock area. It's a great place," Henry said. "I realize I'm a Johnny-Come-Lately, but I feel like I was born here."

Return to top of newsletter

A note from your editor, Sandy Hershelman:

In the early 1990s, I came to a crossroads in my life. My freelance writing career had just begun to take off, when I was offered a high-paying sales job. Passionate about my writing, yet knowing a divorce and single motherhood was soon to come, I was confused. Should I grab the gold ring of financial security, or follow my heart and pray I'd be able to feed my two young children?

For advice I went to a man I didn't really know too well, but one whom I admired and whose advice I respected — Henry  Rogers. Henry played the devil's advocate and we dissected all sides of the question. I came away clearheaded and positive about my decision: I would write. Of that decision, I have no regrets. And to Henry, I will always be grateful.

Got news??
E-mail me at: hershelman@olympus.net to send tantalizing tidbits for this monthly missive.
Feel free to send me 72 dpi photos. . .the more embarrassing the better!
Thanks again to Linda Kostenbader for the Students of the Month photos! And is that a Rennie Bergstrom photo of Milt and Henry? I'm sorry if I'm wrong on that one. . .correct me!
If you've missed some of the past issues of the
Rotary Club of East Jefferson County's Newsletter, they're still happily living on the Web at http://www.sandyhershelman.com/desktop.htm