ROGERS, JOHNNIE BEVERLY (1925 ~ 2015). The following is an obituary for Johnnie B. Rogers, former Senator and Texas House Member Johnnie B. Rogers. The obituary was provided by Cook Walden Funeral Home.
Johnnie B. Rogers, age 89, of Austin died Sunday, March 8, 2015.
Born in Austin on July 6, 1925, Johnnie B. was the son of Bruce Franklin Rogers and Dorothy Merle Finegan Rogers. He grew up in the shadow of the State Capital, and the historic granite building had a long and important impact on his life.
At age ten, Johnnie B. was a page to the doorkeeper of the House of Representatives. He continued as a staff member of the legislature for the successive five sessions, becoming the bill clerk and assistant parliamentarian at the age of eighteen.
A graduate of Austin High School, Johnnie B. joined the Naval Air Corps officer training program (v-5) in 1944. He served two and a half years in the military, winding up in line officer training (v-12) after naval air training program was closed near the end of World War II. During his service, he was stationed at North Texas Agricultural College (now the University of Texas at Arlington) and the University of Texas at Austin. He played football and baseball at NTAC and football at UT. He was a Longhorn squad member for five games in 1945, but following V-J Day, he was transferred to Illinois for discharge.
In 1947, while on a football scholarship at Howard Payne University, Johnnie B. met the beautiful Jo Ann Davis, his bride of more than 65 years. While still at HPU, he announced his candidacy for the Texas legislature. Returning to Austin, he campaigned as a twenty-one year old, was elected at twenty-two, and sworn in as a state representative at twenty-three. At twenty-seven, he was elected State Senator for Travis, Bastrop and Williamson counties.
During his elected years, Johnnie B. continued his education at UT. He earned a degree in Journalism and amassed more than enough hours at the UT Law School to qualify for and pass the state bar exams. He was licensed in 1955 and retired in 2006 with more than fifty years of law practice, all of it in Austin.
His relationship with state government continued past his years of elective service, Johnnie B. served as general counsel for more twenty statewide trade associations and other commercial groups. His association clients included petroleum marketers, grocery purveyors, propane gas dealers, funeral establishments, insurance companies, motor vehicle leasing companies, beverage dealers, common-carrier truck lines, hotel operators, and many smaller industry groups. In addition to representing these clients in legislative programs, Johnnie B. was their "Austin lawyer" for representation before many state regulatory agencies. This administrative work was his principal avocation during his last 40 years of practice.
An inveterate politician, Johnnie B. was on a first-name basis with three U.S. Presidents, seven Texas governors, and countless Texans who served in the legislature and the U.S. Congress. Because of the diverse nature of his law practice, he also interacted with innumerable lawyers and government officials. Most satisfying to Johnnie B. personally, however, was having organized a statewide movement to bring about important reforms in injured workers' compensation laws. He successfully recruited more than thirty-thousand Texans, mostly small business owners, to join in a sweeping reform effort. Five-thousand recruits gathered in Austin to impress on the legislature the importance of reform. The successful program saved the largest part of damage rewards for the benefit of injured workers, rather than for lawyers.
Johnnie B. was preceded in death by his father Bruce Franklin Rogers, mother Merle Finegan Rogers, his stepfather Clyde C. Owens. He was also predeceased by his brother Bruce F. Rogers, Jr. of Houston and Brazoria County, and his half-brother Billy Rex Rogers of Austin.
Survivors include his gorgeous and beloved wife and helpmate, Jo Ann; four children, Johnnie B. Rogers, Jr. and wife Linda; James Clark Rogers; JulieAnn Rogers Reynolds and husband Bobby; Jo Lynn Rogers Hughes and husband James; seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, as well as his half-brother Jimmy Rogers.
Johnnie B. was intensely proud of his extended family. The contribution to the Rogers clan by Jo Ann is incalculable, but is better defined by the loving care and steadfastness all of the siblings and their children received from "Memother." In the finality of his life, "G Daddy" was the principal beneficiary of her loving care.
Johnnie B. lived a full, successful and rewarding life. His sharp mind and intellectual curiosity furthered his professional accomplishments. Personal relationships, however, endured because of his quick wit, his sense of humor, and his earnest interest in other people's lives.
The family will receive visitors at Cook-Walden Funeral Home at 6100 North Lamar Blvd., Austin, Texas from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.
A memorial service will also be held at Cook-Walden Funeral Home at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 12, 2015.
Johnnie B. will be buried in a private ceremony at the Texas State Cemetery.
Those desiring may make memorial contributions to The Wounded Warrior Project. Floral services provided by Freytag's Florist, Austin, Texas