In 1943, at 19, Jack Rogers joined the Army. He was assigned to the amphibious engineers unit and spent 3 years on active duty, most of it in the Philippines.
“Our whole company was made up of kids– dressed up as soldiers,” he said. “At 19 I was in charge of 55 men.” He shrugged. “You grew into the job.”
After the war he became a commercial artist and a founding member of the Spokane Watercolor Society. He started the art department at Spokane Falls Community College in 1963 and taught there for 26 years.
On Saturday, Rogers, 93, had what will likely be his final art show/sale.
People had lined up before the doors even opened. Anxious to take home a signed painting. Anxious to thank Rogers for his service to our country. Anxious to thank him for his devotion to teaching and to art.
He and Fran, his wife of 70 years, greeted the crowd. When asked the reason for the show Rogers said. “I was given a gift and I want to share it,” he said. “Why put it all back in the drawers? I’m hoping people will take home a memory.”
My memories of Jack Rogers exist in more than just watercolors. They exist in hours spent interviewing him. They exist in War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation. Time spent with he and Fran is precious to me, now and I was glad to see the community turn out to shake his hand and to tell him thank you.