OBITUARY

Mr. George William Rogers

February 8, 1925September 12, 2018

Columbia, SC – It is with both great sadness and joy that we celebrate the life of George William “Bill” Rogers. He was born February 8, 1925, in Ocilla, Georgia to Henry Levy and Sarah Ruth Murphey Rogers. He died on September 12, 2018, after a long illness, at the age of 93 at his home in Forest Acres.

Bill will be remembered for his quick wit, infectious laugh, kindness, quiet generosity, love of family, love of nature, gin rummy, fierce competitiveness on the golf course, and his incredible skill, luck and timing in business! He had a special ability to connect in a deep way with everyone regardless of their station or status.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 P.M., September 23, 2018 at Trenholm Road United Methodist Church, 3401 Trenholm Road, Columbia, SC with Rev. Bill Bouknight and Rev. Joel Jones officiating. The family will receive friends at the church immediately following the service.

Bill attended public school in Ocilla and graduated as class valedictorian in 1942. He enrolled at Georgia Tech where he played on the varsity basketball team. He graduated in 1946 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and immediately entered the United States Navy serving as a chief gunnery officer aboard the heavy cruiser USS Pensacola in World War II. He returned to Georgia Tech and earned his Master of Science in Engineering. In 1953, he was called back to serve in the Korean Conflict as Operations Officer aboard the destroyer, USS Stephen Potter. Upon returning from Korea, Bill married his beauty queen and soulmate Susan Connally Smith Rogers, affectionally known by her grandchildren as “Muddo”, who passed away in 2001.

Bill loved to work hard and play hard. In 1954, Bill Rogers and Tom Meredith co-founded Bonitz Insulation Company of South Carolina, which eventually became Bonitz, Inc., and later founded RBM Metals Company which would become Consolidated Systems, Inc. The two companies prospered under their leadership, expanding throughout the Southeast. While building these enterprises, Bill served as chairman of the Industrial Development Commission, the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, and was a life-time Rotarian.

In 1998, Rogers was inducted into the Capital Senior Center's Midlands Senior Hall of Fame. In 1999, he received the Association of Fundraising Professionals Outstanding Philanthropist Award, and in 2002 was inducted into Junior Achievement’s South Carolina Business Hall of Fame. Although most of Bill’s philanthropy was done anonymously, one of his most recognized charitable gifts was to Friends of Juvenile Justice, who, in 2008, opened the “Bill Rogers Community Connections Center”. This center hosts parents and community resources to help reconnect and rebuild children’s lives.

Bill also served as chairman of the Carolina Children’s Home and personally led a residential facility expansion campaign to increase resources for children in need. His board service included the Salvation Army, the Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Alston Wilkes Society, Claflin College, the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Business Partnership, and the Sisters of Charity Providence Hospital Foundation. His other interests included Habitat for Humanity, the Indian Waters Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the United Way of the Midlands.

Bill Rogers was an avid sportsman and golfer. It should be noted that he carded multiple hole-in-ones and was given the nickname “Humble George” by his beloved golf group, who together founded The Palmer Festival, an annual outing held at St. Simons Island.

He is survived by his daughter, Louise Rogers Slater (husband Steve); son, George William “Bill” Rogers, Jr.; grandchildren, William Clayton Slater and Steven Lucas Slater; step-granddaughter, Cari Jean West (husband Mike); step-great grandchildren, Adrianna Jean and Samantha Helen; and many loving nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Bill’s family would like to express their gratitude to Martha Hawkins, his loyal friend and life-long employee who cared for Bill and the entire Rogers family for nearly four decades; Irene Gillespie, his personal assistant of twenty-two years who he affectionately referred to as his “second daughter”; and Beverly Branham, Teresa Broxton, Anetra Woodard and Santtanu McDaniel who cared for Bill in his later years.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Youth Corps, Inc., 1343 Garner Lane, Columbia, SC 29210 or Epworth Children’s Home and designated for the Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing, which is housed on the Carolina Children’s Home campus, 2900 Millwood Avenue, Columbia, SC 29205.

Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family. Memories may be shared at www.dunbarfunerals.com.

Services

  • Memorial Service Sunday, September 23, 2018
  • Visitation Sunday, September 23, 2018
REMEMBERING

Mr. George William Rogers

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David Jordan

September 25, 2018

I was sorry to hear about Bill's passing. Bill and Tom Meredith started and operated one of the largest privately owned company's in South Carolina. After Tom died, the company continued to grow under Bill's leadership. Bill had many fine qualities, was always very humble and his character was second to none.

Bobby Foster

September 23, 2018

Louise and Billy - I'm sorry for your loss, but what a wonderful life your Dad lived here on Earth. I know his life continues in Heaven, and I look forward to seeing him again when my time comes.

Your Dad was one of my all-time heroes. He taught me so much about charity work, and how to pull people together to get worthwhile projects accomplished.

The legacy Bill leaves behind is amazing. So many lives were changed for the better, due to his leadership and management skills, his charity work and personal charitable giving, and his friendship.

God bless Bill and his family, and all the friends he leaves behind.
Bobby Foster

Dooley Womack

September 22, 2018

I am so sorry for your loss. I worked for Bill for 29 years and greatly admired him. Janelle and I send our heartfelt sympathy.

Dooley Womack

Betty Smyrl

September 21, 2018

Louise and Billy,

It was a distinct privilege to have known your dear Dad, and to have worked for him two and a half decades back in the '80's and '90's. He was a brilliant business man who was a visionary, and who positively influenced many people. When I went to work at Bonitz, I had never known anyone like him and always had admiration for him.

Please accept my heartfelt sympathy at your great loss.

With love and compassion,

Betty Smyrl

Joanne H Pool

September 21, 2018

Louise & Family,
Our heart felt condolences are with you and your family during this difficult time.
Your Dad, has truly been a blessing to our Roofing Business over the years. He was a
man of God and was all about making sure that others had what they needed. Otho is
honored and privileged to have served on several committees at TRUMC with him.
We shall all miss him but also know that he with his Savor and loved ones who have gone
on before him.
Lovingly,
Joanne & Otho S. Pool, Jr. & Family

Harold Chapman

September 20, 2018

Louise and Billy,

I am so sorry for your loss. Bill was a wonderful man and he touched many lives. He garnered respect from all those he came to know. I will miss him.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family.

Harold Chapman

Harriet Hendricks

September 19, 2018

Fond memories of our friendship; Bill and Connally,Tom and Caroline Meredith,Chris and Harriet Swift.
Condolences for your loss, Harriet S. Hendricks

Wendy C Wilson

September 16, 2018

Louise and Billy, I am so sorry for your loss. Mr. Rogers was a very special man and I will always remember him with a smile. May God comfort you and your families during this time.

Dianne Chinnes

September 16, 2018

Bill Rogers was a friend and a true Southern gentlemen.

My thoughts, prayers, love and heartfelt sympathy are with his family.

Dianne

Patti Robinson

September 15, 2018

Bob and I lived next door to Connoly and Bill for 30 years and what wonderful neighbors they were! My boys enjoyed fishing the pond off their dock when they were young. We will miss Bill, a true gentleman.
Patti and Bob