The Obit For Jim Rogers

James O. Rogers Jr.

BillingsGazette.com
February 17, 2011 12:00 am

James O. Rogers Jr., beloved husband and father, was born in Billings on Jan. 22, 1930, and passed away surrounded by his family in the early hours of Feb. 12, 2011, less than a month after his 81st birthday.

Jim was born to James O. Rogers Sr. and Theresa "Rose" Rogers (Rambold) and was the youngest of four children, having three older sisters. Jim was raised on the south side of Billings and attended Garfield Primary and Billings Senior High School.

One of the loves of Dad's life was the game of baseball. He started his baseball journey at the age of 14 when he began pitching for the American Legion Post 4 baseball team. His Legion baseball career culminated by being drafted in 1948 by the Brooklyn Dodgers and becoming Coach Eddie Bayne's first "bonus" baby. During his professional baseball career (1948 to ‘50), Jim was around many famous baseball players, including Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reece, Chuck Connors and several others.

In 1950, due to the Korean War, Dad enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was very successful pitching for the Hickam Field team, playing against many other major leaguers on other armed forces teams.

Upon his honorable discharge, Jim returned to Billings and ended his playing days as a semi-pro player in Montana. Jim's love for the game continued through the years with involvement as a coach and volunteer for Mustang Jr. and Lissa Little Leagues and President of Pony Colt Baseball. Dad's greatest legacy was passing on his passion for the game of baseball to his two sons and supporting their journeys through the game.

Jim met his lovely wife Angela in 1950 at St. Vincent's hospital in Billings. They were married in Hawaii in 1952 while Dad was serving in the Air Force. Their daughter Roxanne was born in 1953 in Hawaii, and the family returned to Billings in 1954. Jim started his career with Mountain Bell (Qwest) in 1955. Dad worked for Mountain Bell for 30 years and ended his career as an outside planning engineer. Jim was proud of his work at Mountain Bell and had many good friends in the telephone company.

Dad not only loved the game of baseball, but enjoyed fishing and hunting in his beloved Montana. Jim created many wonderful memories with his two sons, taking them fishing on the Stillwater and hunting with his wife's family in the Grass Range area. Also, Dad developed a special bond with his daughter during their annual summer visits to the Shriner's Hospital in Spokane, Wash. One of Dad's greatest highlights was meeting Babe Ruth in Billings in 1947. Dad was a "Billings Boy" through and through.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, James O. Rogers Sr. and Theresa Rose Rogers (Rambold); his sisters, Frances (Bob) Hein, Dorothy (Al) Kober and Nadine (Dan) Popp. Jim is survived by his wife, Angela; his children, Roxanne (John) Eixenberger of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, James O. Rogers III of Billings and Wesley (Shelley) Rogers of Oregon City, Ore.; his grandchildren, Theron (Brynn) Eixenberger of Kansas City, Mo., Emily Eixenberger of Moscow, Idaho, Brett (Katelyn) Rogers of Castle Rock, Colo., and Stephanie Rogers of Radovljica, Slovenia; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Dad's special friends were Bernie Boehm and Joel Hawkins, both of Billings.

The family would like to thank Rocky Mountain Hospice and their caregivers during Dad's struggle with lung cancer. Thank you, Robin, Laurie, Sandra, Naomi and Kellie. Memorial donations are suggested to Boys and Girls Club of Billings, 505 Orchard Lane, Billings, MT 59101 or Rocky Mountain Hospice.

Private interment was held at Sunset Memorial Gardens. Remembrances can be sent online to Cremation & Funeral Gallery at www.cfgbillings.com.

FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE....