1946 – 2019
Jay Rogers, 72, died Tuesday, April 2, 2019 following a long-term battle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
He is preceded in death by his third wife Kaye Rogers, parents Obra Dink and Fannie Mae Rogers, brothers Joseph McGough and Lee Rogers, and his granddaughter Rebecca. He is survived by his former wives Dusty Evans and Sue Petretto-Eaton; daughters Casey, Gena, and Elizabeth; son Jayson; sons-in-law Danny, Phillip and Keven; daughter-in-law Jessica; granddaughters Kaliegh, Anissa, Brooke, Carlie, and Mikayla; grandsons Zachariah, Dominic, and Maximillian; brother Bill; sisters Wilma and Dorie; and many close nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Born on December 12, 1946 in Tulare, CA, Jay was the 6th child of Obra Dink and Fannie Mae Rogers. In his early years, his family enjoyed the simpler ways of life. As the 6th child, he was definitely the “baby” of the family. The family lived in various locations in the Bay Area. As time went on, his sisters and brothers either married, drafted into the service, or began working. His mother was the glue of the family, and after her passing when Jay was 10 years old, his siblings went in different directions. He and his father traveled together following work. They spent some time in Placerville before moving to Modesto. Jay graduated from Downey High School in 1965.
Jay was drafted into the Army right after high school. He went to boot camp at Fort Ord in Monterey Bay, CA. After that, he attended Advanced Infantry Training (AIT) at Fort Gordon, GA. Then, for four weeks, he went to Jump School in Fort Benning, on the Alabama-Georgia border. On April 22, 1966 Jay was drafted by the Army to the Vietnam War, where he served until 1967. Jay didn’t know what to expect from the military experience. As a sniper, traveling mostly by himself, Jay’s transition into the extreme weather of the jungle was difficult. Keeping him company was his trusty companion, George, a Spider Monkey, that he purchased from a Vietnamese boy for sixty-five cents! The pair made a good team, as George alerted him to the approaching enemy. Jay’s duty was difficult, but he knew he had a responsibility, and fought to stay alive in the process. In addition to being a sniper, he engaged in long-range shooting.
During his tour in Vietnam, he survived two strains of malaria and a grenade explosion, leaving shrapnel in his hand. Jay’s experience made a permanent impact on his life, and shaped who he was as a man. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for being a prisoner of war.
After serving in the US Army, 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles, Jay returned to Fort Bragg on California’s Mendocino Coast. He then moved to San Jose where he began working for Hewlett-Packard. There, Jay was employed as an Industrial Equipment Mechanic, where he worked as a welder, and painted computer casings on the assembly line. In 1968 he married his first wife Dusty Evans in Modesto, CA. Together they had two daughters: Casey and Gena. Jay briefly worked in Palo Alto before returning back to San Jose again, where he married his second wife Sue Petretto-Eaton in 1974. The couple had a son named Jayson. In 1977 Hewlett-Packard transferred Jay and his family to Idaho, and in 1980 they had a daughter named Elizabeth. Jay resided in Idaho finishing out his career, until he retired early at the age of 52.
Living in Idaho, Jay enjoyed the abundance of camping, fishing, hunting, boating and water skiing. He took any opportunity to ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He loved playing baseball and co-ed softball. He played ball well into his 50s! Along with outdoor recreation, he enjoyed bowling, was an avid gun enthusiast, and a poker player. He was a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan!
After being widowed by his 3rd wife Kay in 2013, Jay moved back to California to live out his days in Turlock. He enjoyed watching football with family, as well as many fun memories, excursions and adventures.
Jay was the life of the party; he was the joke-telling, ear-bending friend who loved everyone. His unapologetic and straight-forward approach created a memorable combination full of charisma and charm. He valued his family most, and loved filling everyone’s lives with laughter. He will be deeply missed. “Ride on Pops!” Until we meet again.