Jan. 22, 1925-May 25, 2013
Lawrence Rogers, 88, passed away Saturday, May 25, 2013, in Homer. A memorial service will be held at the Homer Elks Lodge on Saturday, June 1, 2013, at 2 p.m.
Lawrence was born to Willie and Lela Rogers in Abilene, Texas, on Jan. 22, 1925. He was raised on farms and attended school in several towns in Texas. Lawrence graduated in 1943 from Aspermont High School and joined the military service one day later.
He served in the U.S. Army Airforce as an aircraft mechanic and gunner engineer. While serving in Italy with the 15th Airforce, he was shot down on his 15th mission over Vienna, Austria. He bailed out over Croatia, Yugoslavia, and was captured by the Germans and was detained in German prison camps until the war ended. After serving on several military bases, he was honorably discharged.
In 1947, Lawrence came to Alaska and worked as an aircraft mechanic at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage. After visiting Homer in 1947 to look around, he liked it so much that he decided to stay. Lawrence homesteaded on the top of Baycrest Hill and started building his house. He worked as a professional clam digger for a short time and then helped build the Pioneer Hardware building, the intermediate school and the original library.
In the summer of 1948, Lawrence started working for the Alaska Road Commission, which later was known as the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. He became foreman in 1973 and retired in 1978 after working for 30 years.
In 1952, he began courting Tepa Hansen and then married Tepa on Dec. 11, 1953 — this is their 60th year of marriage. Lawrence and Tepa worked hard on their homestead and raised three daughters — Linda, Judy and Anita. There were lots of building, driveway, and machinery projects that kept him very busy. Lawrence also reeled in many fish and had lots of great fish stories to tell. Every fall, there was the hunt for moose and lots of harvesting from the garden. Lawrence spent many hours growing delicious vegetables in his greenhouse, and he truly fed the family from the land.
“Lawrence really was quite a joke teller and all the kids and grandkids learned their first jokes from him. He continued to share jokes right up to his last day. Lawrence was truly the head of the family and he had such a large presence leaving behind loved ones that will miss him so much,” his family wrote.
He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, LaRene “Tepa” Rogers; daughters Linda Rowe and her husband Dave; Anita Critchett and her husband Bob, all of Homer; Judy Fowler-Morris and her husband Dick, of Fairbanks; grandchildren Lisa Wilcox, Andrew Fowler, Marina, Denali and Dylan Critchett, and Kevin and Brian Rowe. He also is survived by his sisters Annie Rogers and Mary Beth Piper, of Wichita Falls, Texas.
Lawrence was a charter member of the Homer Elks Lodge 2127, an active member of the Pioneers of Alaska Igloo 32 where he was King Regent in 1995, and he was a member of the American Legion Post 16. In lieu of flowers, donations in Lawrence’s memory can be made to one of the above organizations or Hospice of Homer.