MESSAGES AND TRIBUTES:
Eulogy for Ms. Rogér's Memorial Service
The First Church of Christ in Longmeadow
(Longmeadow, MA - September 15, 2001)
(Given by Senior Pastor David L. Fountain)
We are here to mourn the passing of Jean D. Rogér. We are as well gathered with the knowledge that what we feel today - our grief, our sorrow, our anger, our manifest confusion, the irrational disbelief in the face of such uninhibited hatred - is being shared with thousands of Americans across our nation. But as we gather in the silence of this space, made holy by our open hearts and hands, the tragedy of September eleventh, so etched into our minds eye, has in this moment one face: Jeanie's.
This morning's sorrow, however, is challenged by something that is more powerful than the determination of the minds that conceived and the hands that brought to pass Jean's death, and that is the power of Jean's love. It is her life force that will, as we depart from this place, overshadow any replayed image of destruction and hate.
It will be her winning and ready smile, her gift of graciousness and easy hospitality that will remain. It will be that golf swing, the family traditions, the Christmas rituals and the summers at the lake that will help Punky, Tom and Jim and her family to overcome the images of destruction of this week. And for us it will be Jean's love of a good party, her struggles to transition from childhood to adulthood that will inspire us to respect others as she did, and will move us beyond the fear and bitterness of these hours to believe and trust in new challenges as Jean did.
To guide us in our reflections on Jeanie's life and love, her family has prepared these words they have asked me to share with you.
(The Rogér Family)
Today we invite you to celebrate Jean's life with us. Jean Rogér was first and always a person who loved life. She could light up a room. She was a beautiful and energetic young woman who had a zest for life that was... legendary! She had smiling bright eyes. Whether you knew her as Jean, Jeanie, Beano, or Rogue, as a baby sitter for many of your children, as a loyal friend, or a casual acquaintance she transcended generations making you all a part of her life.
For Jean, who was born in San Diego, moving to Longmeadow when she was one, this was a place to grow up. She made many close and lasting friends. She went from Longmeadow High School to Penn State where she spent four and a half years in three different majors (it may have been more!) including her favorite, environmental science, but in the end her love for people outweighed her love of nature, and she choose to become a flight attendant and she loved it. Jean loved the people.
Those of you who knew her well can remember her. A big smile, a golf swing we all dream about. She loved a good party and good music. She loved to sing, dance and lead everyone in having a good time. Her renditions of "Sweet Caroline" and "Son of a Preacherman" remain to this day "infamous"!
"And give me that beat boys and free my soul I want to get lost in your rock and roll and dream away."
In the words of the great 20th century philosopher Pink Floyd: "For long you live and high you fly, smiles you give and tears you'll cry. All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be."
Despite her love and appreciation of home, she could, better than anyone we knew, live out of her car. It was her style. It was almost as if she preferred it. If you were foolish enough to allow her to borrow your car, she would either transform it into a closet or trashcan or make it her own in merely a matter of hours. If she needed virtually anything she could effortlessly stroll out to the car and get whatever she needed. You couldn't sit in it without moving something, which included most anything imaginable including the keys, which were always kept on the seat. And why not leave the keys? Once anyone looked inside you couldn't imagine who would want to steal it? God forbid she should take anything out. "Always prepared." she liked to say of her car slash home.
One month after Jean was born she was rushed to the hospital for major surgery. This obviously didn't slow her down. It may have inspired her for she was an outstanding swimmer and all around excellent athlete. She grew up in a competitive environment and loved to win or loved to get the "Big W" as she and Tom would say. But she was as gracious a loser as she was a winner.
This past weekend, we all agree, was a gift from God. Every one of us, Punky, Tom, Jim and his new fiancée Louise, and Jeanie and Kevin had a wonderful time together. Jeanie would insist that you all know that the girls roundly trounced the guys on the course Sunday.
For 24 years as a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin and friend to many of you Jean struck a trail for life and the wonderful things that life and love can bring to all of us.
For Jean the "Big W's" were life, love and family. Jean would want us to hold on to what is dearest to us. Hug your children, parents, friends and loved ones. And enjoy life with them. Don't wait for the right moment. Just do it.
Jeannie was loved. And she gave love.