Larry Arch Rogers, 81, of Charlotte, father of five and grandfather of nine, died peacefully on Saturday, February 8, 2020.
He was a retired neurosurgeon, a proud Vietnam veteran, an author, a volunteer football coach, and a Christian. Larry loved his family, treated his patients, coached his kickers and lived his life with fiery passion. He never stopped learning, challenging himself, and achieving.
Larry was irreverent and confident, and at the same time, compassionate and caring. He had no interest in doing anything halfway, whether it was practicing medicine, golfing, officiating and coaching football or embracing retirement. After leaving his medical practice in 2001, he wrote five books, including a memoir, “Sword and Scalpel,” about his experience during the Vietnam War and a biography of his neurosurgical mentor entitled “M. Gazi Yasargil: Father of Modern Neurosurgery.”
Larry also found particular joy and meaning coaching special teams at Myers Park High (2003-2012) and Charlotte Country Day School (2013-2017) where many of his kickers and punters went on to garner All-State and All-American recognition on their way to earning college football scholarships.
Larry loved classical music, great writing, Duke basketball, his grandchildren, and the Republican party. He was his own man.
Born in Salisbury, NC to the late Arthur Larry and Agnes Cree Rogers, Larry moved to Charlotte at age 14 and played football and baseball for Myers Park High School. He was a two-year starter at quarterback under legendary coach, Gus Purcell and was later inducted into the Myers Park High School Hall of Fame. Larry went on to play football for two years at Davidson College before turning to his studies full-time.
Larry graduated from Davidson in 1961 and Duke University Medical School in 1965. He fulfilled an ROTC commitment by serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, where he was commander of Company B, 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Infantry Division. He was awarded two Bronze Stars, the Combat Medical Badge, and the prestigious Soldier’s Medal for his actions following an explosion at an ammunition depot. Larry braved flying shrapnel and debris to administer aid to wounded U.S. soldiers and Vietnamese civilians.
Following Vietnam and a year of surgical research at the Walter Reed Army Institute, Larry completed a neurosurgical residency at the University of Texas-Southwestern at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, TX. He also completed fellowships in medical neurology and neuropathology in London and in microneurosurgery at the University of Zurich under Yasargil.
Larry practiced neurosurgery in Charlotte for twenty-seven years, primarily with Charlotte Neurosurgical Associates, and became one of the first surgeons in the Southeast to perform an extracranial-intracranial bypass operation.
He traded on-call dates with his partners to indulge his love for football, officiating high school and small college games as a back judge. He loved golfing with friends, foes and especially his beloved wife Betty at Quail Hollow Country Club, as well as Pinehurst Country Club and Forest Creek Golf Club.
He served as an elder at Covenant Presbyterian Church and later joined St. John’s Episcopal Church. There, he was blessed with many beautiful and lasting friends who encouraged, guided and shaped his faith.
Larry is survived by his five children, Dr. Chip Rogers and wife, Liz of Macon, GA, Dr. Louise Rogers, Carroll Walton and husband, Gus of Charlotte, Duke Rogers and wife, Carrie of Raleigh and his stepdaughter Ashley Stiles and husband, Warren of Charlotte. He took great pride in his nine beloved grandchildren: Alex, Drake, Parker, Charlie, Allen, Jane, Wade, Johnny and Wes. He is also survived by his brother, Jay Rogers and wife, Ann; nieces, Kathy Beard, Betsy Lonsberry, Molly Campbell, and Barbara Rogers; sister-in-law, Dale Richards and husband, Tim. Larry was predeceased by his wife of thirty years, Betty Ammons Rogers, his son, Wade Barrow Rogers, and his sister, Carroll Rogers Zimmerman.
A celebration of life will be held at 2:00 PM on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1623 Carmel Road, Charlotte, NC 28226.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8516 or WDAV, Box 8990, Davidson, NC 28035.
Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.