William Rogers, electrical engineer and volunteer

William P. Rogers
William P. Rogers
Posted: June 06, 2014

One way to make a retirement day worthwhile might be to help a few youngsters launch a rocket from a park in Camden.

On May 11, William P. Rogers, a retired electrical engineer, was there as an adviser to an after-school group from UrbanPromise Academy, a Christian nondenominational high school in Camden.

"He worked on that for a couple of months" with members of the school's chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers Jr., his wife, Lynne, said.

Marcus Bell, a special projects coordinator for UrbanPromise, explained that "with his background in engineering, he was a great help to us in math and science."

Nicknamed "Buck," Mr. Rogers "was just one of those guys who loved to share information," Bell said. "It was just the nature of who he was."

Jodina Hicks, executive director since 2010 of UrbanPromise Ministries, which runs the high school, said, "Buck was an amazing man. He loved kids, was always encouraging . . . a very special man."

On Friday, May 30, Mr. Rogers, 74, of Haddon Township, a former computer hardware engineer, died of a heart attack after parking his car on a Collingswood street.

A 1957 graduate of Collingswood High School, Mr. Rogers "was the state champion pole vaulter in New Jersey, at 11 feet, 6 inches," using a metal pole in the days before more flexible fiberglass poles raised the bar and the records, son Paul said.

Mr. Rogers entered the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis but resigned with an honorable discharge at the end of his sophomore year in order to earn a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in the work-study program at Drexel University in 1964.

At Annapolis, his son said, Mr. Rogers was a member of an eight-man crew "and was asked by the coach ... to train for the Olympics; he was such a strong rower."

During his electrical engineering career with several firms from 1964 to 1998, he rose to vice president of advanced technology at Telenex in Moorestown in the 1980s, his son said.

Among the 13 patents that he shared with his employers was one for the Matrix switch, which, his son said, works "to connect computer equipment together so they communicate to each other."

All his life, his son said, Mr. Rogers was involved "in the hardware end" of computers, "not programming at all."

At UrbanPromise, Mr. Rogers had a foot in the door.

His wife was principal of its high school from 2000 to 2008, when, she said, she helped open Christus Academy, the high school at Christus Lutheran Church in Oaklyn, where she was the principal from 2008 to 2012.

Besides his wife and son, Mr. Rogers is survived by son William M., a brother, and three grandchildren.

A viewing was set from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 6, at the Blake-Doyle Funeral Home, 226 Collings Ave., Collingswood, N.J. 08108.

A visitation was set from 10 a.m. Saturday, June 7, at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 400 White Horse Pike, Oaklyn, before an 11 a.m. funeral service there, with burial in Lakeview Memorial Park, Cinnaminson.

Donations may be sent to www.christusacademy.org.

Condolences may be offered to the family at Blake-Doyle at the above address.


wnaedele@phillynews.com

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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