Dennis Rogers, the 31-year columnist for The News & Observer, passed away Saturday at the age of 77. His former colleague Jim Jenkins, who retired as the site’s editor and columnist Editorial in 2018, gave this tribute.
The world belongs to those who read shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater
“Going is easy,” we sometimes say when we break up at the end of a workday. It was a kind of joking reference to “Easy Rider”, an anti-cultural film about a motorcycle ride.
Dennis Rogers, who curated News & Observers for three decades, was known to occasionally mention his Harley and he disliked it when I asked him if I could bring the bike. He’s out to shoot. (Thank God he never said yes.)
Dennis is a Vietnamese veteran, a boy from a poor background, a cyclist, a man so skinny that he seems to be rolling like paper in a strong wind.
I am not one of those. But we, during our years at The News & Observer, have been great friends. I have that in writing: When I interviewed Dennis earlier this year about publishing his book on his Army training program, “Spit Shine,” he scored something. into my copy that I would read forever. The interview went well in that I haven’t seen my old friend and his wife again, HollyAnn, in a while, but it was tough because Dennis’s health is not good for him. I told him I wouldn’t write anything about that at the time.
But then I went to the parking lot and opened The world belongs to those who read a shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater book, and Dennis wrote, “To Jim – my best friend at The N&O.” I was devastated. Last Saturday, I was devastated by my old friend again.
So let this be known, as hundreds of thousands of people have literally read The The world belongs to those who read the shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater news & Observer over the past 40 years: Dennis Rogers is North Carolina’s best columnist ever and Definitely one of the best in USA status. He has done to a considerable extent for over three decades, a bit fine about that spends commuting tens of thousands of miles per year profiling East North Carolina residents.
Dennis went on to experience a life that began in poverty in eastern North Carolina, joined the military, and went to Vietnam. When he got home, he entered the University of North Carolina and made Phi Beta Kappa, something he never told people, unless they saw him an open beer with a PBK key.
Oh, Dennis’s writing is amazing, the ability to turn a phrase and find details in the life of someone who shaped him or her is wonderful. But people talk to Dennis because they feel like he likes them and respects them. His honesty is found in everything he writes.
Take note of some of the “on file” things Dennis wants to have in any flashback: He loves food despite his malnourished looks and he made spaghetti with oregano as it was. mentioned that once on “The Andy Griffith Show”, another thing Dennis liked. He is a man of integrity when it comes to civil and women’s rights. The best time of his life could have been when he and his wife, my beloved HollyAnn, traveled to America for several years with ever-growing RVs.