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
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Comments

  1. Terri Roberts Egan says

    I just wrote something here and I don’t see it. I’ll try again. I am so hoping this is one of Brian’s jokes, but unfortunately it is not. I haven’t seen Brian since our 20th reunion. We grew up in the same vicinity and were in grade school classes together. Brian always made me laugh! I am in so disbelief, I am having a hard time breathing! I know he has had his own life but he recently resurfaced and gave a breath of fresh air to our GHS class of 71. We usually connected via email every 5 years when planning class reunions. We have been so waiting for him to attend again! Another classmate tried to get him to return home to Geneva this past summer. He was just instrumental in getting donations to the Center of Concern by other classmates to have a way to remember deceased classmates! So ironic, but that is Brian!!! I want to offer my sincere condolences to Nancy and Justin, his father, Charles other family members and friends. Every so often someone comes into our lives that leave an impact and he definitely has done that! He was so proud of his son and spoke of their recent DJing, and he talked and was so impressed and respected by his fathers military career! I will miss his daily posts on FB of singers, artists etc that I hadn’t thought about in years. I am not being irreverent, but the above date of September 31st is definitely a “Brian”!! Oh my, I had so hoped to have seen you again at our 50th!! I can only imagine the hijinxs Brian and Danny Collins will get involved in heaven!!! “Run” with the angels! I know it is a beautiful place but you left us too soon! You will never be forgotten!!! See you on the other side! We will always love you Brian and to his family, you were blessed to have had him!!! Memories forever!

  2. Terri Roberts Egan says

    I am shocked! Has he been sick and never let on?. Please tell me this is one of Brian’s jokes!!! He has recently reached out to our GHS Class of 71 and was instrumental in bringing up wonderful memories of our childhood! We were so looking forward to seeing him again at our next reunion. We loved Brian!! To his children, wife, family and friends, I offer my sincere condolences and am at a loss for words! Sometimes someone comes into your life that makes a difference and he was one of those special people! He always made me laugh! He was such a talent! I am not be irreverent, but the above stating he went to the hospital on September 31st, is definitely a “Brian”!!! I can only imagine what Brian and Danny Collins hijinxs will be in heaven! Brian thank you for everything!!!! We will love you forever! Terri Roberts Egan GHS class of 71.

  3. frank sarratori says

    Brian and i resurrected a newspaper that was his brainchild called Dirt the Truthpaper.It was in High School and we had a lot of fun with it.Also in resurrecting the paper,Brian and i put our heads together for a fund raiser to help out the center of concern in our hometown of Geneva.Recently,i was fortunate to meet his son Justin over the airwaves at UNH.We were friends in high school who became closer these last few months..A true friend in all ways…i will miss him very much.

  4. says

    Brian was a true friend and his absence will be felt by many if they had any exposure to his charm, wit and sense of humor. Profoundly he will be missed to restate a comment in your article. I knew him from back in the wiffle ball days of our youth. A studied person of baseball and he actually created baseball games as a kid. They should have been patented. Ahead of his time. The world lost a good person this week. My memory of Brian will Be life long for sure. Just can’t say enough how his passing should be transferred into our passing on the same “light” he shared with us. Peace my friend. Peace.

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