The Frederick Gunn School community is saddened by the news that Former Trustee Andrew “Tony” Y. Rogers, Jr. ’61 P’87 passed away on January 24, 2024, at his home in Florham Park, New Jersey. A much-loved and dedicated alumnus, Tony served two terms as President of the Alumni Association, from 1974 to 1977, and was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1974-1976.
Tony volunteered as a Class Agent and Reunion Committee member. With his friend and classmate, former Board Chair Gerrit Vreeland ’61, he helped to plan the 25th and 50th reunions of the Class of 1961, and together they became the namesakes of The Vreeland-Rogers Athletic Awards, the highest athletic awards bestowed at Prize Night. The awards were established in 1998 as a way for both of their names to be permanently attached to Gunn. Like many Highlanders, the pair became friends soon after they met on campus, and remained close through college and the rest of their lives.
Tony was born in New York City on December 24, 1941, to Andrew Y. and Polly (Porteous) Rogers. One of four siblings, he graduated from The Buckley School in 1956, and was enrolled at Andover before arriving at what was then The Gunnery as a sophomore in January 1959.
“At Gunnery, the way he felt about it, I think he grew into who he was meant to be,” his wife, Judy Rogers P’87, recalled last week. “He loved his teachers, and he wasn’t an academic person, but he found a place where he learned to learn. And he loved the coaches. I think it’s the quality of the people. It was the adults. They cared about kids. They had time to spend with kids.”
“The same was very true of our son,” she added. “It was those relationships with adult people helping you to grow up, learn who you were and how to relate to other people, and be part of a community and be responsible in a community.”
At Gunn, Tony was a member of the Athletic Council and, due to his “popularity and trustworthiness,” was elected by his classmates to be a junior and senior monitor, according to the 1961 Red and Gray. A three-sport varsity athlete (football, basketball, and baseball), he was elected captain of the Varsity Baseball Team and received both the Gunther Football Cup and The Gunnery Athletic Cup. He served as secretary of the Student Council his senior year.
Following Tony’s graduation from Gunn, he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Dickinson College, where he played varsity football and served as captain of the varsity squash and golf teams. He was named most valuable player in both sports as well as vice president of the Athletic Council. He was a member of the Skull & Key, a junior honorary society, and Raven’s Claw, a senior honorary society, serving as its president. He was also president of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and director of the Intramural Sports Program. Tony and Judy also met as students at Dickinson. They was married on September 4, 1965. Gerrit was a member of their wedding party.
Tony served in the U.S. Army from 1966-1968. In June 1967, his father forwarded to then-Head of School Ogden D. Miller, Sr. H’69 P’50 ’54 ’55 GP’84 a letter he had received from Major General George Ruhlen of the U.S. Army 1st Armored Division at Fort Hood in Texas. “It seemed to me quite extraordinary for a Major General to write the unknown father of a draftee assigned to his Division,” Tony's father wrote, crediting Gunn for playing a part in his son’s development.
“Being a rather ancient and broken-down squash player, as well as tennis player, in our Division tournaments, I have frequently and always disastrously, faced your son on the squash and tennis courts, particularly the former,” the Major General wrote. “I just wanted to tell you that you certainly have a fine son. It is most refreshing these days to run across a young man who is respectful, yet has personal dignity, and with sportsmanship and character of such high standards as your boy demonstrates. I wish I could have persuaded him to have attended Officer Candidate School ... for he is better educated and has more intelligence than most of my junior officers.”
“It has been a pleasure to know your boy. I certainly wish him the very best in any future endeavor he essays and I hope my 17-year-old in a few years will turn out to be the same type of young man,” the Commanding General concluded.
"That letter speaks to his character, speaks to his athletic ability, and speaks to the impact that he had on everybody, be they contemporaries or people older than him," Gerrit reflected. “Tony was as comfortable speaking to adults as he was speaking to people his own age. He wasn’t simply gregarious, he was interested in who and what those people were, so he was, and became, a terrific salesman. He was very successful at J.P. Stevens, one of three or four major textile firms that dominated the United States.”
Tony began his career at J.P. Stevens & Co., Inc., in its management training program and served as a vice president and national sales manager before moving on to C.S. Brooks Corporation in New York City, where he was vice president of marketing, and then to Springs Industries and Fashionaire Home Products.
Following his retirement in 2003, Tony continued to be actively involved at Dickinson, having served as a class agent, member of the alumni council, and steering committee. In 2023, he was named to the Dickinson College Hall of Fame in recognition of his athletic talent and devotion to the school’s athletic programs.
“Dickinson at the college level was just like The Gunnery. It was small, it was personable, and if you wanted to, you could play multiple sports. Tony was very happy there. He just as happy at Dickinson as he was with The Gunnery,” Gerrit said, recalling that Tony was eager to share his experience at Dickinson with Gunn students as they began their own college search process. “When those students met Tony, they saw Dickinson through the prism of his eyes, and if Tony recommended a student, the people at Dickinson had that much confidence in them, that that candidate would not only be a good athlete, but would be a good person within the context of Dickinson kids. He just loved doing that."
Associate Head of School Seth Low P’26 got to know Tony when he was Director of College Counseling at Gunn. “He would come up at least once a year, sometimes more often than that. He so loved the school and Dickinson that he wanted to facilitate others having the same experience he had, which was going from here to there and thriving. And he loved Gunn sports, so he was drawn to finding athletes who would thrive at Dickinson. He would come up as an emissary of the Dickinson Admissions Office. Sometimes he would meet with five to 10 kids who were interested in the school. Some of them were athletes, some of them were not. When a kid when from here to there, he became a lifelong mentor to that person.”
Tony hosted the Class of 1961's 25th reunion dinner at the Mayflower Inn “and called on each member of the class to bring the group up to date on their lives since they left Gunnery,” the Bulletin reported in 1986. Attendees included Steve Davol '61, John Mulfeld '61, Peter Manley '61, Tim Tilney '61, Alex Auerbach '61, Lou Margolis '61, Mark Sperry '61, Mike McCabe '61, and Ted Seibert '61.
“He loved The Gunnery,” recalled Jeff Marsted ’60, who in 1974, asked Tony to succeed him as President of the Alumni Association. “I knew it was a good choice because other people liked him and he was close to the school. He was popular with most everybody. He will be missed. He was a good athlete and he had a lot of friends. I think he would like to be remembered that way.“
In addition to his wife and children, Andrew Y. “Beaver” Rogers III ’87 and Elizabeth (Rogers) Hall, Tony is survived by four grandchildren and his three siblings. A memorial service was held at Morrow Memorial Church in Maplewood, New Jersey, on February 3.