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William P. Rogers

1913-

Secretary of State - 1969 to 1973

January 9, 2001
CNN Web posted at: 9:49 AM EST (1449 GMT)

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 tooth.

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 government.

"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 said.

 
 
Research Links
 
NORFOLK, NEW YORK  "Tops in Towns" click here to visit the birthplace of William P. Rogers, Norfolk.

Foreign Travels of William P. Rogers
William P. Rogers (January 22, 1969-September 3, 1973).
February 23-24, 1969 Belgium Brussels ...

William P. Rogers
William P. Rogers (Secretary of State 1969-1973) William
P. Rogers was an old friend of Nixon's ...

Rogers, William P.
Click here to see more! How Low Can You Go? ... Rogers, William P. ex-secretary
of state Birthplace: Norfolk, NY Born: 6/23/13 ...

Rogers, William P.
Click here to see more! ... people Biography People R Rogers, William P.
ex-secretary of state Birthplace: Norfolk, NY Born: 6/23/13 ...

The Presidential Medal of Freedom: President Richard M. Nixon
... Back to List WILLIAM P. ROGERS Awarded by President Richard M. Nixon October 15,
1973 Prosecutor, Congressional investigator, and Cabinet leader under two ...

Biographies of Aerospace Officials and Policymakers, O-S
... William P. Rogers (1913- ) was chair of the presidentially-mandated blue ribbon commission
investigating the Challenger accident in January 1986. It found that ...

US government departments and offices
... Oct 1957 Herbert Brownell, Jr. (b. 1904 - d. 1996) 23 Oct 1957 - 20 Jan 1961 William
P. Rogers (b. 1913) 20 Jan 1961 - 3 Sep 1964 Robert F. Kennedy (b. 1925 - d ...

 


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