Thursday, May 7, 2015
1:00 PM EDT
707 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
PO Box 140422
Grand Rapids, MI 49514
Our Daily Bread Ministries
3000 Kraft SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Faith was the foundation on which Jack Rogers lived. From raising his family, enjoying his career and to all he encountered, Jack was a man of integrity whose faith was clearly evident. A stranger to none and a friend of many, his pleasant, easy going nature naturally drew others to his side. Jack was a loving example, and taught his children well. For the many lessons in life he taught them, spoken and lived out, they will always be grateful.
Life was forever changed for America in 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor. As countless young servicemen and women were sent overseas, women entered the work force in droves. World War II was news of the day, and much was being done on the home front for the war effort. While manufacturing changed its primary focus towards the needs of war, those back home freed their minds from everyday worries as the entertainment industry made great strides. Yet in the close knit community of Sparta, Michigan, Melvin and Evelyn (Schut) Rogers experienced some changes of their own when on July 2, 1941 they welcomed the birth of their son, Jack Lynn Rogers.
Jack was the second of eventually five children in his family. He experienced a wonderful, small town Norman Rockwell childhood that was so typical of his generation. While enjoying the many adventures of boyhood, Jack especially loved playing in the woods. From his earliest years, simply being in the midst of the wooded beauty and solitude was inspiring for Jack. With boyhood friends, he’d make campfires and take excursions into the “wilderness” at the outskirts of Sparta. His mother once told of the story when a young 10-year old Jack wanted to run away from home. She dutifully made him a lunch and packed it along with a change of clothes. He made it as far as the edge of their backyard – spent a short while – then decided his trip had been long enough. Being a tad mischievous, he enjoyed having fun and was a practical joker. He would later share some of his shenanigans and stories with his grandchildren – now that the statute of limitations had expired.
Hunting was something Jack also enjoyed – based on the early years spent hunting with his dad, uncles, and friends from Sparta. His dad Melvin first began hunting in the western Upper Peninsula in 1929. Now, the extended Rogers and Schut families continue to hunt at the famed “Mel’s Hilton” deer camp to this day – marking three generations of hunters and countless tall tales of days gone by.
Faith was always a cornerstone of Jack’s life. As a family they were longtime, active members of Sparta Baptist Church where Jack’s deep faith was instilled early on. Having attended Sparta schools, Jack played the coronet in high school, and also played football. His father owned the hardware store in Sparta, where Jack began working during his youth. He then began his career Spartan Distributors when he was 23, eventually becoming a salesman where his career would span 39 years.
Following high school, Jack joined the U.S. Army Reserves where he trained as a medic. During these years - after church one Sunday night – Jack and a friend went “cruising” in downtown Grand Rapids. At some point, they saw two attractive girls driving in a car beside them – and after a few glances and flirtations, they asked the girls to join them at a nearby Big Boy restaurant for ice cream. Let’s just say, Jack was quite taken with one Joan Moerdyk. On the drive back to Sparta, Jack and his friend flipped a coin for the honor of calling her. Fortunately, Jack won the coin toss. Although he had failed to get her phone number, God’s providence (and his sleuthing) allowed him to find her again. The couple began dating, and after a two year courtship, they were happily married on September 9, 1966 in Sparta. Having won a trip to Bermuda through The Toro Company, they shared a memorable honeymoon there, capped-off with a trip to the Upper Peninsula.
Jack and Joan purchased his parent’s former house in Sparta, where they soon began a family of their own. In time they were blessed with the births of two children, Jeff and Jennifer. They eventually built a home in Sparta where they remained for the next 26 years. Through the years they created wonderful memories there where together Jack and Joan lovingly raised their family. Jack was a dedicated and devoted husband and father. A good provider, he was a diligent worker, and spent long days on the road, calling on golf courses throughout the state. When the kids were young, he often combined his business travels with family vacations, and together they enjoyed several trips throughout the country.
Due to his many travels throughout Michigan, Jack had friends in nearly every town (and happened to know all the best dining spots!). An extremely personable fellow, Jack easily won sales with a persistence all his own. Along with his dynamic personality, however, he was always honest and never compromised his integrity. Jack simply had the natural ability to relate to people. Thus, he loved what he did because he loved people. Professionally, Jack invested 39 years with Spartan Distributors and TORO, and the many colleagues and customers he truly and personally cared about.
After “retiring” for a week or so in 2003, Jack realized sitting still wasn’t an option for him. He then began his second career in commercial real estate with FS Realty. The three common denominators throughout his 51 year professional career were unmistakable: his love for people, his unwavering integrity, and unyielding persistence. It would be fair to say that for Jack, a simple “no” did not stop him from the pursuit of a sale. In reality, it steeled his resolve and encouraged him to land the deal even more.
While he had a strong work ethic, Jack had other interests as well - and he and Joan enjoyed great times with family and friends. Always fun-loving and outgoing, Jack loved speed, had little fear, and was known to be a daredevil at times. Yet Jack was forever a humble, easygoing man who, for the most part, had a quiet demeanor. He loved the American West – which led to owning a horse as a young man, enjoying the Sparta Rodeo, an affinity for antique firearms, and watching westerns. He was a voracious reader – especially all things related to theology and the Christian life. And while surrounded by golf courses throughout his career and enjoying the game, his family and work came first (as his less than Masters-level golf scores would attest!).
A particular cottage “up north” - dear to Jack’s heart - became a reality of his own one day while driving around Crystal Lake near Beulah. He saw a cottage for sale, and it was the very one Jack remembered staying at as a young boy. In time, he and Joan bought the cottage, and it became Jack’s favorite spot in the world. Almost every weekend, he and Joan made the drive from Kent to Benzie county. He simply loved tinkering around the cottage and it quickly came to be a special place, where numerous family memories were formed. In the late 1980s, Jack and his son, Jeff bought an antique wooden Chris Craft, restoring it together to near perfection. It was one of more to come, and together they enjoyed many trips to wooden boat shows around the United States. In fact, Jack loved most anything vintage or antique – and over the years would take pride in his collections – including his favorite old Toro golf course tractors.
Jack’s grandchildren were his delight. His love for them was obvious and he would easily rearrange his schedule to spend time with them. Affectionately known to them as "Papa", it was clear to see Jack’s unending love for them. He knew it – and they knew it. Jack loved telling them stories of his childhood and knew how to really capture their attention. Through time spent with his grandchildren, Jack made a meaningful bond with each of them. And as a kid at heart, for him that wasn’t difficult.
Above all, the foundation of Jack’s personal, family, and work life was built on the faith. Through the extended Rogers and Schut families, Jack considered himself blessed with a rich, Christian heritage. He also realized that God – simply put – “does not have any grandchildren.” Jack’s faith became his own through his personal trust in Jesus Christ, and he spent decades deepening his walk with his Lord. From teaching Sunday school for years at Sparta Baptist to young high school men, handing out bibles at area schools as a Gideon with his uncle Floyd Schut, serving as president of the Rotary Club of Sparta, to his service on various boards – Jack simply enjoyed sharing his faith, winsomely, wherever he went. He, like his Grandpa Schut, would often pick up hitchhikers along his business travels – to both lend a hand, as well as share his faith. For Jack, he didn’t do these things to “earn” God’s additional favor (as a Christian, he already had that in full); he merely saw it as an outpouring of gratitude for what God had done in his life. In the 1990s, Jack and Joan joined Calvary Church, where his faith continued to grow. His primary ministry, however, always remained the family entrusted to his care.
Approximately three years ago, Jack was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. While his treatments were challenging, these years were nonetheless good for Jack – and he enjoyed a relatively active lifestyle throughout. Although he processed much internally, Jack relied on his faith in the truth of the Gospel alone – along with the deep love of family and friends throughout – to take him on this final step of life’s journey this side of Heaven.
So while he persisted valiantly throughout this trial, Jack knew the battle had already been won – and Who had already achieved the ultimate victory! Now, in the presence of the God he so loved and served, Jack heard those long awaited words on Sunday morning, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.” Forever are the memories and cherished times spent with a man so devoted to his faith, and dedicated to family. Jack had a dynamic personality treasured by those who knew and loved him. Gone but never to be forgotten, the memory of Jack will be held fondly in the hearts of those who knew him.
Jack Lynn Rogers, age 73, went to be with his Lord and Savior early Sunday morning, May 3, 2015 after a three-year journey with adrenal cancer. Jack is survived by his beloved Joan whom he shared nearly 48 years of love and friendship; his two children: Jeff and Meghan Rogers, Jennifer and Ben Slenk; grandchildren: Christian Slenk, Elizabeth Slenk, and Jack C. Rogers. He is also survived by his siblings: Alwin and Joan Rogers, Marilyn and Jon Pike, Carolyn and Roger Hixon, Roy and Sharon Rogers; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Jack was preceded in death by his parents, Melvin and Evelyn Rogers.
Jack’s family wishes to thank all the family, friends, and colleagues who have shown their care and concern over the years, especially over the last three years. They also would like to give special thanks to Dr. Alan Campbell and Susan E. at the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Center for brightening this journey through their personal care and attention.
Friends are invited to visit with Jack's family on Wednesday from 2-4 and 7-9 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home-Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield NE, Grand Rapids. The service to celebrate Jack's life will be held on Thursday, May 7, 1:00 PM at Calvary Church, 707 East Beltline NE, Grand Rapids with Pastor Doug Bytwerk officiating. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Gideon’s International, Moody Bible Institute, or Our Daily Bread Ministries are appreciated. To read more about Jack's life, to share a memory or sign his online guestbook, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.