January 29, 2010

Honor Spotlight

Fred McFeely Rogers


(March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003) was an American educator, Presbyterian minister, songwriter, and television host. Rogers was the host of the television show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, in production from 1968 to 2001.

Fred McFeely Rogers was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, a town located 40 miles (65 km) southeast of Pittsburgh. He was born to James and Nancy Rogers; he spent many years as an only child. Early in his life he spent much of his free time with his maternal grandfather, Fred McFeely,who would later move to Florida, and had an interest in music. He would often sing along as his mother would play the piano and, at the age of 5, he began to play the piano as well.[1] Rogers graduated from Latrobe High School (1946).[2] He studied at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, (1946–1948).[3] He transferred to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where he received a BA in music composition in 1951.[4] At Rollins, Rogers met Sara Joanne Byrd, an Oakland, Florida native. They married on June 9, 1952.[5] They had two children, James (born in 1959) and John (born in 1961), and three grandsons, the third (Ian McFeely Rogers) born 12 days after Rogers' death.[6] In 1963, Rogers graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and was ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church.[7] Scholastically, he went on to garner 40 more honorary degrees throughout his life.[8] Rogers was also red-green color blind[9] and a vegetarian.[citation needed] He swam every morning, and neither smoked nor drank.[10] Rogers also owned a summer home on Nantucket in the village of Madaket on the western end of the island.[11][12]

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