Otis A. Rogers Jr. a lifelong resident of Oak Bluffs died peacefully on January 26, 2016 just shy of his 93rd birthday. Born in Oak Bluffs on January 30,1923 a son of Otis A. and Mary (Veira) Rogers Sr. Otis who was a proud man of simple means that cared deeply for his children, grandchildren, his extended family and this island that was his only home.
Otis was constantly on the move, transportation at the heart of all he enjoyed. As a very young boy he would pull his wagon and collect pine needles for the family’s animals and then travel around the highlands to sell his father’s fresh vegetables and flowers. Through those interactions with the families in that area he would as a young man be offered a job as a seasonal chaufeur. In between this time he would have many jobs to be able to purchase the various Model A's that he and his friends would put together and enjoy the road.
In 1945 he met the love of his life Mary Kidder Rogers in 1947 they married and she would spend the next 69 years riding at his side.
Shortly after that he and his brother Everett would start a business Rogers Freight & Trucking. Again behind the wheel hauling rocks for jetties, grain to the farms, alcohol to the package stores and many unusual house hold furnishing moves that would have him driving on and off the island. The winter months meant sanding and plowing the roads.
Otis called himself a backyard mechanic but had great knowledge of engines and he enjoyed the mechanics that went along with a vehicle. That would lead him to Old Colony Motors in Edgartown where he would be a parts specialist. Missing the action of being behind the wheel made him decide to start his own business Rogers Taxi Service. This gave him an outlet to pass his knowledge of the island onto his patrons. To make ends meet during the off season he would drive a school bus for 22 years for Island Transportation. His passion for driving would carry over to the many students he taught to drive at Mr. Adams driver education course. Of course he would be the instructor for his three grandchildren, grandpa would never say no.
For 40 plus years he served his community as a proud Oak Bluffs volunteer fireman serving in positions from fireman to captain. He also served on the Oak Bluffs finance board. For many summers he could be seen at the Oak Bluffs harbor attending to the surrounding grounds in the very early morning before starting his driving day. He sold the taxi business and retired in 1999. By then he had passed his love of all things moving onto his son Russell whose excavation business would once again provide another outlet for Otis to get behind the wheel.
He loved everything about his island home, but nothing more than a freshly caught quahog, clam or anything seafood. When his children and grandchildren would talk about adventure away from the island he would brush it off and say what do you want to do that for, you live in God's country.
Otis was a religious man of the Catholic faith who could be seen many a Sunday as an usher at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Oak Bluffs.
He was predeceased by his wife Mary this past November and his brother Everett Rogers, sisters Genevieve Eddy and Shirley Law. He is survived by his son Russell Rogers; and his daughter Nancy Giordano and her husband Richard. Grandchildren Daniel A. Rogers and his wife Kimberly, Leanne (Giordano) Bartkowski and her husband Jeffery and his grandson Michael who happened to be born on his grandfather’s birthday. Also his loving sister Lorraine Mavro and her husband Richard, along with many nieces and nephews.
His funeral mass will be held on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 11 am in St. Augustine’s Church, Franklin St., Vineyard Haven. Burial will follow in the Oak Grove Cemetery, Pacific Ave., Oak Bluffs.
Donations in his memory can be made to Good Shepherd Parish, PO Box 1058, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or the Oak Bluffs Firefighter’s Association, PO Box 2131, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.