Obituary: Brian Rogers, Who Nurtured Belmont’s Sports, Died at 65

Photo: Brian Rogers at the 2018 Brandan Home Run 5K in June.

Brian Rogers, the creative talent who nurtured Belmont sports from road racing to youngsters playing ball, died suddenly after being taken to Mt. Auburn Hospital on Sunday, Sept. 31, 2018.

A School Street resident, Rogers was 65. No cause of death was given.

“Brian was a gifted man, with a graceful intelligence and strong moral compass that came from somewhere deep within his soul,” said Casey Grant, who Rogers volunteered in managing the foundation honoring Grant’s son, Brandan. “His legacy in providing selfless, humble service to our local community and beyond [measure] and timeless.”

“He was a quiet, soft-spoken gentleman who never had a bad word to say about anyone, who loved his family and his town, and who made the town a better place to live,” said Peter Noone, a lifelong resident, and close friend. 

For the past two-and-a-half decades, Rogers was known as the race director of the Brendan’s Home Run 5K, running the Father’s Day event since its inception in January 2002. Rogers was one of Brendan Grant’s youth coaches and immediately after the young man’s death in 2001, “provided leadership to the organization and its annual road race to help ensure Brendan’s memory lived on and helped turn the tragedy of his sudden death into many years of incredibly positive things for the town,” said Noone in an email.

Rogers took the small race and developed and promoted it into an all-out annual community fundraiser and get together where Olympians and rising talent ran alongside Belmont residents whose only exposure to running occurred once a year. He saw the race as more than just an athletic event but as a coming together of the people of Belmont, from those who volunteered, contributed time and prizes to the runners themselves, the vast majority being residents.

“This race works on a lot of levels, and that’s the beauty of it,” all of “which keeps the memory of Brendan alive today,” said Rogers at the 2017 race.

But it was baseball where Rogers’ sports affections lied.

“He loved baseball more than even the most die-hard fans,” noted Noone. “He was like an encyclopedia of baseball and had an unmatched love of the history of the game.” He took that love for the game and channeled it working several decades with Belmont Youth baseball, first as a coach, then director, board member, and trustee.

During his tenure at youth baseball, Rogers ran every aspect of the program, from scheduling, organizing teams, cleaning equipment, and running tryouts, as he steered the program in a way that made the baseball program an outstanding youth program that cared about helping every kid, no matter how talented.

“He devoted his life for many years to the program and the kids of the town. He followed the kids in the news after they graduated from High School and moved on to college baseball. Even after he retired from the Board, he would send in clips from newspapers throughout the country that described the successes of Belmont’s players,” said Noone.

Born in Geneva, NY, Rogers graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelors in Fine Arts in Communication Design. Rogers started his career as a graphic designer in Chicago and Boston but moved towards the creative side of design as a new business/creative developer at Foster Design Group in  Natick.

In 2000, Rogers and Jeremy Wirth co-founded Labor Day Creatives of Natick, a design firm that creates annual reports, branding, advertising, direct mail, trade shows, packaging and Web design for its client firms.

“He had many roles that channeled his positive energy into making our world a better place,” said Grant. “We are profoundly heartbroken, and we will dearly miss Brian and all the good that he brought to our world.”

He is survived by his wife, Nancy H. (Hall) Rogers, and their son, Justin A. Rogers, both of Belmont. Rogers is the son of Charles Rogers of Marlborough and the late Mary (Connors) Rogers; brother of Charles Rogers of Norristown Penn., Jay Rogers of Wayland, Jon Rogers of Hopkinton and the late Clare Matthews; and uncle of Mark Matthews, Daphne Remarcke, Christopher, Andrew, Megan, Tia, and Grace Rogers.

Visiting hours will be at the Stanton Funeral Home, 786 Mt. Auburn St. in Watertown, on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The funeral will begin from the Stanton Funeral Home on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, at 9 a.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in the Church of St. Luke, 132 Lexington St., Belmont at 10 a.m. Burial will be private.

Instead of flowers, contributions in Brian’s memory would be appreciated to:

  • The Brendan Grant Foundation, P.O. Box 184, Belmont, MA 02478-0184 or
  • the Boston Bulldogs Running Club, P.O. Box 470558, Brookline, MA, 02447-0558