Richard null Rogers obituary

Richard Rogers Obituary

Topeka, Kansas, United States

December 29, 1921 - January 25, 2016

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Richard null Rogers obituary

Richard Rogers Obituary

Dec 29, 1921 - Jan 25, 2016

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Honorable Richard D. Rogers, 94, of Topeka, Kansas and formerly of Wamego and Manhattan, Kansas passed away on November 25, 2016. Rogers was a prominent leader in Kansas politics until 1975 when he was nominated by President Ford and confirmed by the Senate as a United States District Judge. Judge Rogers served in that position for 40 years in Topeka, Kansas. Rogers was born on December 29, 1921, in Oberlin, Kansas, to William C. Rogers and Evelyn Mae (Christian) Rogers. He moved with his parents to Wamego when he was in the first grade. He had a boyhood job in a drug store where he served, among other customers, Delmas C. Hill, later to become a federal appeals court judge, and Robert H. Kaul, who became a Kansas Supreme Court Justice. He credited these men as inspiring his legal career. In high school, Rogers was a talented athlete who, according to newspaper reports, stood out like Venus on a clear night as he helped his team win championships in football and basketball. In 2009, he was inducted into the Wamego High School Sports Hall of Fame. He received an athletic scholarship to play football at Kansas State University, which at that time meant he had a job with the stadium gang working for 30 cents an hour. At K-State, he joined the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He also was a member of ROTC. In his junior year he was placed in the Army Reserve as a corporal when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Rogers obtained a business administration degree at Kansas State in January of 1943 and was sent to infantry school at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He taught basic training to infantry troops and then transferred into the Air Corps, where he became a bombardier. Stationed in Italy, he flew 33 combat missions in a B-24 over the European Theatre and was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross. On one mission, he was the lead bombardier of a group that destroyed a German jet plane factory. After the war, he attended law school at the University of Kansas where he received his J.D. degree. From there, he returned to Manhattan, where he became associated with Alvin Springer, an able and respected lawyer in town. After the death of Mr. Springer in 1956, Rogers formed a law partnership with John Stites. He continued his law career with the firm of Rogers, Stites & Hill until his appointment to the federal bench. Rogers combined an active political career with his legal practice. He was on the Manhattan City Commission for several terms in the 1950s and 1960s. Twice, he was Mayor of Manhattan. He also served two terms as Riley County Attorney. Rogers moved into state elective politics in 1964 when he started his first of two terms as state representative. In 1968, he moved to the Kansas Senate where he rose to the position of Senate President in 1975. Rogers held Republican Party posts as precinct committeeman, chairman of the County Committee, chairman of the 2nd District Congressional Committee, and Republican State Chairman. He was a member of the Kansas delegation to the 1964 Republican National Convention, where he chose to support William Scranton. He also managed the successful campaigns of Senator James Pearson and Governors John Anderson and Robert Bennett. Before he became a federal judge, Rogers served as general counsel for the Kansas Farm Bureau and was on the Board of Directors for the Kansas Power and Light Company as well as several local financial institutions. He had close ties to Kansas State University, where he taught business law and served as President of the Endowment Association. Rogers also was the President of the University of Kansas Law School Board of Governors. During his tenure as a federal judge, he presided over hundreds of civil and criminal trials. He dealt with cases concerning prison overcrowding, reapportionment, school desegregation, and the Cuban refugees. He had a great respect for the Kansas attorneys that practiced in his court. Judge Rogers served terms as President of the Kansas State Historical Society and the Topeka YMCA. He also belonged to the state and local bar associations as well as local Shrine and veterans groups. He received awards and recognition from the University of Kansas (Distinguished Alumnus Citation), Kansas State University (Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters) and Washburn University (Honorary Life Member s Award). In 1985, he was selected Distinguished Kansan of the Year by the Kansas Native Sons and Daughters organization. He also served as President of the Tenth Circuit District Judges Association from 1984-86. Judge Rogers was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Topeka, Kansas. Rogers married Beth Stewart in 1946. She died in 1983. They had three children all of whom survive: Letitia Appignani (Peter) of Harpers Ferry, VA; Cappi Nelson (Doug) of Topeka; and Kurt Rogers (Jennifer) of Taft, CA. In 1987, he married Cynthia Conklin. She survives, along with her children, Katherine Burenheide Foster (Daryl) of Topeka; and Kenneth Conklin (Karen) of Olathe, KS. He has eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Judge Rogers was an avid reader and a great student of history. He was a wonderful joke and story teller who was in frequent demand as a public speaker. He had a great energy and desire to give the world the best of himself. He was dedicated to the legal system and valued its place in our democracy. And he did his best to see that his decisions followed the letter and spirit of the law. Private services with military honors are planned. Memorials are suggested to First Presbyterian Church of Topeka, the Kansas State Historical Society Foundation, or the Washburn University Law School Foundation, and may be left in care of Stewart Funeral Home of Wamego, P.O. Box 48, 66547.
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