In Memoriam: Dr. Jack David Rogers (1937-2021)

Dr Jack D. Rogers, 83, WSU Regents Professor Emeritus, died peacefully at his home in Pullman on Monday June 14th after a long illness. Jack was a nationally and internationally renowned mycologist, dedicated and inspirational educator, avid hunter and fly fisherman, a wonderful humorist, and most of all a dedicated husband to his wife Belle and father to his twin daughters Rebecca Ann (Hines) and Barbara Lee (Cooper).  He will be sorely missed by his family and international network of colleagues, friends, and former students.

Jack was born on September 3, 1937 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Jack attended Davis and Elkins College (West Virginia) and, in a five-year cooperative program with Duke University (North Carolina), earned a Bachelor of Science from Davis and Elkins and a Master of Science in Forest Management from Duke. He went on to earn his PhD in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1963.  

In 1963, Jack joined the faculty of Washington State University’s College of Agriculture, beginning an educational career in the Plant Pathology and Forestry Departments which spanned half a century. He taught Forest Tree Pathology and Advanced Mycology, and served as a Major Professor and Advisor for graduate and post-graduate students.  He rapidly rose through the ranks to become a full professor and served as the Chairman of the Department of Plant Pathology from 1985 until 1999. An international authority on Xylariaceous fungi, he authored and co-authored more than 230 scientific papers and two mycological books. Jack traveled the world on mycological research and specimen collecting trips, but far and away his first priority and passion was teaching his students. His many awards for educational and scientific excellence included the R.M. Wade Award for Instruction (1967); serving as President of the Mycological Society of America (1978); the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Research, Scholarship, and Arts (1986); and the Mycological Society of America Weston Award for Teaching Excellence (1992). In 2004 he was honored with the Mycological Society of America’s Distinguished Mycologist Award. Additionally, he received the Library Excellence Award for Service to WSU Libraries in 2005. Jack received the WSU Eminent Faculty Award in 2006 and was promoted to Regents Professor in 2007. He was the subject of a book of tributes from colleagues edited by former student and retired WSU professor, Dr. Dean A. Glawe.

In addition to Jack’s professional accomplishments, he was also an enthusiastic outdoorsman, a friend to many, and a legendary humorist. He particularly enjoyed hunting pheasant and quail on the breaks of the Snake River and fly fishing in rivers and lakes across the Pacific Northwest.  Jack was a regular at his two coffee groups as well as the Pullman Presbyterian Church’s Men’s Bible Study, and enjoyed visiting with his many colleagues and friends. Jack loved a good joke or humorous story and had the rare ability to remember and re-tell every entertaining anecdote he ever heard. Whenever he said “that reminds me of a story…” indicated that whomever he was with would soon be laughing until their sides ached.

Jack is survived by Belle, his loving wife and constant companion of 63 years, his daughters and their families, and many nieces and nephews. The above information is an abbreviated version from: