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Vera Odessa (Manning) Rogers
August 23, 1934 - November 8, 2023
Vera Odessa Rogers, a beacon of light and knowledge, graced this world on August 23, 1934, in the quaint town of Pickensville, Alabama. Daughter of devoted parents Albert and Lannie Manning, Vera's early life was characterized by the warmth of family and a thirst for knowledge. The family's relocation to Birmingham, Alabama, marked a pivotal chapter, as her father's employment with Bessemer Steel Company paved the way for new opportunities.
Embracing change and education, Vera's journey led her to Detroit, Michigan, where she completed her high school education. It was at Michigan State Normal College where fate smiled upon her, leading to a cherished encounter with her future husband and lifelong partner in adventure, Robert A. Rogers (“Bob”). Their hearts and paths united in 1957, embarking on a journey of love and enduring companionship.
During her collegiate years, Vera embraced a significant milestone with great pride and enthusiasm as she became a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. This affiliation not only reflected her commitment to academic excellence and community service but also marked the beginning of a lifelong journey of sisterhood and empowerment. As a Delta, Vera found a community that echoed her values and aspirations, fostering relationships and experiences that enriched her life profoundly. Her involvement with Delta Sigma Theta was more than a membership; it was a cherished part of her identity, one that she carried with grace and dedication throughout her life.
In 1965, Vera and Robert ventured to the historic landscapes of the Washington, D.C. metro area, settling in Maryland. There, Vera continued to nurture her passion for education, earning both a Bachelor of Science and a master’s degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Bowie State College.
A testament to her dedication and skill, Vera's career as a schoolteacher in Prince George’s and Montgomery County school systems in Maryland was marked by her unwavering commitment to shaping young minds. Upon retiring to Bluffton, SC., Vera's passion for teaching remained undimmed, leading her to serve as a substitute teacher in the Beaufort County school system.
In a shared pursuit of adventure and knowledge, Vera and her beloved Bob embarked on journeys that took them across the globe. Their travels were not just about exploring new places, but also about forging lasting friendships and creating unforgettable memories. Vera, with her indomitable spirit of adventure and independence, played a pivotal role in these travels. She was often at the helm, skillfully navigating a large Class A motorhome across the country. Her enthusiasm for discovery led them through diverse communities, where she engaged with local cultures and traditions with genuine interest and respect. Vera's adventurous soul and her ability to connect with people from all walks of life added a rich and vibrant chapter to her life, leaving a legacy of exploration and camaraderie that will be remembered fondly by those she encountered along the way.
Vera's influence extended far beyond the classroom. She was a pillar in her community, actively participating in a variety of initiatives and organizations. Her roles included serving as a Beaufort County election commissioner, board member and President of the Fernlakes Homeowner’s Association, and an active participant in organizations like Bluffton Self-help, The Ella C. White Memorial Scholarship Fund, Bluffton Friends of the Library, and the Hilton Head Motorcoach Resort. Vera's commitment to civic engagement was further evidenced by her involvement in The League of Women Voters and her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, as well as her role in the social group, Chums, Inc. She and Robert were also founding members of the Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, and great supporters of the Bluffton Fire Department.
Vera's legacy lives on through her beloved family. She is survived by her four children and their families: Robert A. Rogers and Valerie Patrick of New Jersey, Rhonda Rogers-Jones and William R. Jones of Maryland, Raymond A. Rogers and Angela W. Rogers (Raymond R. II and Allison R.) of Oklahoma, Ronald A. Rogers and Jessica Alvarez-Rogers (Anthony “Tony” A.) of Washington, DC, and cousin, Mrs. Geraldine Reed, along with a host of friends and loved ones, whom also hold her memory close.
The family extends a heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated caretakers who provided exceptional care and companionship in Vera's final days: Veda, Monay, Maya, Ny’Aisha, and Karen. Special thank yous also go to the team at the Preston Health Center, The Bluffton Fire Department, and the many friends and neighbors who showed unwavering support and kindness.
A celebration of Vera’s remarkable life will take place on Monday, November 20, 2023 at 11:00am, at the Historic Campus of Church of the Cross, 110 Calhoun St, Bluffton, SC 29910. In a tender and heartwarming culmination to Vera's memorial service, we will be laying her to rest beside the serene memorial tree at the Church of the Cross. This moment holds a beautiful and poignant significance, as it coincides with the same calendar day that her beloved husband, Robert, passed away. It's a touching testament to their enduring bond and the remarkable journey they shared together. In this serene and sacred space, Vera and Robert will be reunited, symbolically entwined in peace and love, just as they were in life. This remarkable alignment of dates serves as a gentle reminder of the extraordinary connection they shared, a love that transcends time and continues to inspire us all.
To celebrate and cherish the remarkable life of Vera, a Celebration of Life Repast will take place following the memorial service in the community room of the Church of the Cross. This gathering is an open invitation to all who held Vera dear in their hearts. We welcome friends, family, and acquaintances to join us in honoring her extraordinary life, her significant contributions, and the lasting legacy she leaves behind. Let us come together in this time of remembrance to share stories, laughter, and tears, as we pay tribute to a life so beautifully lived and a soul so deeply cherished.