WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former Secretary of State William P. Rogers was remembered
Monday by government leaders and friends as an honorable and visionary
statesman, a good-humored golfing companion and caring family man with a sweet
Rogers, 87, who died Jan. 2 of heart failure, ran the State Department for
President Nixon and was attorney general under President Eisenhower.
He was credited with crafting a Middle East peace plan that remains the basis
for settlement proposals today, helping to write the Civil Rights Act of 1957
and establishing the Justice Department's civil rights division.
"I think a good way to think about Bill is this: If he had lived in the
late 1700s, he might well have been one of our founders. And if one of our
founders had lived during the 20th century, he might well have been named
William P. Rogers," former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, who
golfed with Rogers, said at Rogers' memorial service.
"After all the battles were over, Bill Rogers' good name, his
reputation, his integrity, bore not one scar, not one blemish, not one
shadow," Baker said.
Among the 400 people attending the service at The National Presbyterian
Church were Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Attorney General Janet
Reno, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and Don Regan, a former
Treasury secretary and Reagan White House chief of staff. The Washington Post's
Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee, and Walter R. Mears of The Associated Press
also paid their respects.
Rogers argued and won two landmark First Amendment cases in the Supreme Court
for clients such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the AP. He was awarded
the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 1973, and he later
was chairman of a commission chosen by President Reagan to investigate the Space
Shuttle Challenger accident.
Baker said Rogers was "again and again on the right side of the great
issues of his times, against totalitarianism of the right and of the left"
while battling for Middle East peace, civil rights, free speech and honest
"He was a leading actor in some of the most significant historical
events of our time, but he never sought the limelight," echoed William A.
Schreyer, chairman emeritus of Merrill Lynch & Co. "To know Bill Rogers
was to revere him."
Rogers, who died at Suburban Hospital near his home in Bethesda, Md., made
his last public appearance Dec. 11 at a ceremony dedicating the William P.
Rogers Building, the new Washington office of his law firm.
Rogers' wife, Adele, and other family members listened as their daughter,
Dale Rogers Marshall, and three sons, Anthony, Jeffrey and Douglas, took turns
recounting a father fond of dinners that resembled Supreme Court debates and
trips such as horseback riding out West.
Family and colleagues remembered his generous humor, his disdain for
long-windedness, his trustworthiness as a confidant and his example as a
dependable public servant. He kept a plaque on his desk -- "Chairman Mao
prefers short meetings and brief speeches."
Anthony F. Essaye, a longtime colleague of Rogers' at the law firm of Rogers
& Wells, which a year ago became Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells, said
Rogers loved playing softball and eating butter pecan ice cream.
"He was a great American but he was also just a great guy," Essaye
YORK "Tops in Towns" click
here to visit the birthplace of William P. Rogers, Norfolk.
departments and offices
... Oct 1957 Herbert Brownell, Jr. (b. 1904 - d. 1996) 23 Oct 1957 - 20 Jan 1961
P. Rogers (b. 1913) 20 Jan 1961 - 3 Sep 1964 Robert F. Kennedy (b. 1925 - d ...
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