Winston Rogers obituary | 1929 – 2016

Winston Rogers of Friday Harbor, Washington, passed away peacefully at his home with his three daughters by his side on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. Winston was born in Los Angeles, California, to James and Florence Rogers. The Rogers family, which included Winston’s older brother, Edward, moved north to Bend, Oregon. It was there that the family bought the Rainbow Motel. His parents later built the first Tucker car dealership in Bend, Oregon. Upon graduation from the University of Oregon Dental School in 1956, Dr. Rogers became an officer in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in Bittburg, Germany. He loved talking about his service as a dentist, skiing with the Air Force Base ski team, as well as traveling throughout Europe.

When Dr. Rogers returned from Europe, he started his dental practice in the Bay Area. It was in San Francisco Bay where Winston fell in love with sailing and met the woman that he would marry and with which he would spend his life. Winston met Lynne Vernon one afternoon at the pier where she and her brother, John, were hoping to learn how to sail. During their initial conversation, Winston offered to take Lynne out for a sail on his catamaran. The afternoon that Winston and Lynne went out on the San Francisco Bay, the winds picked up and as they were passing in front of the Saint Francis Yacht Club, a large gust tipped over their catamaran. They were rescued by the Coast Guard. It happened to be Lynne’s birthday, and upon asking Winston to come home to meet her mother, she never envisioned that there was a big surprise party awaiting her. Entering the house, still soaking wet, with her mom and friends all yelling “surprise” with an equally wet Winston in toe was an even bigger surprise – her then, soon to be, ex-boyfriend. Six months later, Winston and Lynne were married on April 7, 1962, in Oakland, California. The story of how their parents met became a cherished story of the Rogers’ three girls. Winston, an avid sailboat racer, won several Gladiator National Championships. Family members tell harrowing stories of sailing with Winston on the rough and windy seas of the San Francisco Bay. Winston and Lynne made their first home in Orinda, California, where they raised their three daughters.

Winston and Lynne took a family trip to the Pacific Northwest in 1973, which marked the beginning of the next chapter in their lives together. It was not a vacation Lynne was looking forward to, and conveyed this to Winston several times on the ride north. However, that first view off the deck of the Washington State Ferry bound for Friday Harbor was all it took and she exclaimed to Winston, “We simply have to move here!” Dr. Rogers passed the Washington State Dental Board and the family moved to San Juan Island in 1974. Dr. Rogers bought a dental practice and it was there that he practiced dentistry for 26 years. Throughout his 40 plus career, he was known as the “painless dentist,” who loved engaging with his patients on a variety of topics.

Dr. Rogers taught himself to be an accomplished skier and often received compliments from fellow skiers for the graceful manner in which he skied. A highlight of his life was teaching his daughters the joy and techniques of skiing. His family enjoyed the sport at many ski resorts along the West Coast and British Columbia. After his daughters were grown, he enjoyed many ski trips to Whistler, British Columbia with his close friends.

As a child, Winston fell in love with the craft of fine woodworking, largely teaching himself through observation and reading. At age 12, Winston, designed and built the furniture for his parents’ motel in Bend, Oregon. He delighted in creating fine wood furniture and one-of-a-kind toys for his family and grandchildren. He, later in life, mastered the art of marquetry woodworking. Many of the beautiful treasures Winston crafted, were built in the dream shop he designed on the property of his and Lynne’s home.

Winston enjoyed Opera and classical music. He had an extensive knowledge of famous composers, as well as a large collection of recordings. He had encyclopedic memory for history, geography, art and literature. He was an inventor, holding five patents ranging from photography to dentistry, recreational equipment to fine woodworking.

Above all, Winston loved his family. He was a devoted husband, a loving and supportive father, and a dedicated “Poppa” to his grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Lynne Vernon Rogers, his brother Edward Rogers (sister-in-law, Lucille) and his parents James and Florence Rogers. He is survived by his daughters Megan Vivenzio of Friday Harbor, Jennifer Rothmeyer of Seattle and Courtney Tasso of La Center, Washington, along with his grandchildren Katharine and Samuel Rothmeyer and Olivia Tasso. Winston is also survived by his three sons-in-laws Tony Vivenzio, Michael Rothmeyer and Teal Tasso, his brother-in-law John Vernon, his wife Vicki, and their son Warren, Winston’s nephews John and James Rogers, and niece Linda Kern.

Winston will be remembered and cherished for his kindness, ready smile, quick wit and humor, his captivating storytelling, as well as his warm and welcoming personality. A lifelong animal lover, his rescue cats — Prince, Dottie and Sandy — brought joy and comfort to his final years as a widower.

The family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to Winston’s caregivers for their exceptional care and love towards Winston and the family.

A celebration of Dr. Winston Rogers’ life will be held on Thursday, Dec. 22 at Downriggers restaurant, an establishment he truly loved. Please join us for refreshments, conversation and memories anytime between 1 and 4 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in Winston’s honor may be made to The Mount Grant Campaign of the San Juan Preservation Trust or the American Heart Association.