Wilbur Vester Rogers, age 92, passed away on Wednesday, December 27, 2017. He had been a long time resident of Baton Rouge, but at the time of his death was living in Shreveport, La.
Mr. Rogers was born and grew up in Jonesboro, La. At the age of 17 he joined the Navy as WWII began. He saw action in the Pacific aboard the USS Foote with the famous “Little Beaver Squadron”. This service resulted in friendships with his shipmates that lasted a lifetime. Later in life he recorded their experiences in a newsletter (Foote Notes), a blog (www.ussfootr.bloqspot.com), and a book Days in the Life of the Foote.
He returned to civilian life and married the love of his life, Onna Vee Starks in 1946. He received his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana Tech in 1949. He began his career with Interstate Natural Gas Co. (Exxon) as an engineer. After 37 years he retired as Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors of Humble Gas Systems, Inc. (Exxon).
In his retirement, he became active in the restoration of the USS Kidd and building of the Louisiana Naval War Memorial in Baton Rouge. He served on the Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission for 18 years and received the Rear Admiral Eugene Barham Volunteer Award in 2002. He was a founding member of the USS Foote Association and served as president for 14 years.
“Papa”, was a loving guiding force in our family. His Christian beliefs and character set a great legacy for us all.
He is preceded in death by his wife of nearly 70 years, Ona Vee Starks Rogers. He is survived by daughter, Debbie Little (Tommy) and son, David Rogers (Beth); four grandchildren, Greg Little (Betsy), Seth Little (Whitney), Paige Berra (Nick), and Drew Rogers (Caroline); four great grandchildren, Alden, Hudson, Anna Clayton, and Roe Little: and special niece, Margaret Tilley.
Services will be held Friday, January 5, 2018 at 11:00 AM at Resthaven Gardens of Memory and Funeral Home in Baton Rouge, La. Visitation will be held at 10:30 AM prior to the service.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that contributions be made to Folds of Honor (www.foldsofhonor.org) or charity of your choice.
Family and friends may sign the online guestbook or leave a personal note to the family at www.resthavenbatonrouge.com.
Mr. Rog was the grandfather I never had. He was the last surviving crewman of the USS Foote and as such, according to US Navy tradition, has the right to be called, “USS Foote.” At 92 years, USS Foote had passed away. He is now reunited with our mighty God and with his sweet Ona Vee. To say that I will miss him is not enough. Rog’s life, his character and his patriotism are a testament to what is good about our country and why we should fight to keep it that way. So rather than mourn, let this be my prayer, for all of us who remain, “Fair winds and following seas” shipmate!
James BroussardBaton Rouge, LA
Remembering a dear and special neighbor and friend. With love, Amanda
Amanda PincombJacksonville, FL