JOHN PENROSE ROGERS, born August 14th 1936, described himself as a schoolmaster and tree planter. His death on July 26th 2018 after an illness bravely borne is an immense sadness for all who knew and loved him. The funeral on August 17th at St Michael’s church, Framlingham, was attended by over 250 mourners though many described it as joyful and uplifting, which is what he hoped for. He leaves his wife, two daughters and three grandsons.
John’s varied career began at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth; he read English at Cambridge, from where he was sent down; then went to Salisbury Theological College. He was not ordained but retained a passion for theology and in the way that he looked after people adopted certain aspects of the role of a priest.
He trained for teaching at Winchester and taught for 25 years, the last 15 of which were at Bedales School in Hampshire where he taught theology and ran the ‘Outdoor Work’ department: the children grew trees, kept livestock, sold produce and reconstructed two timber-framed barns at the school. He had a great respect for all children and what they have to say to us.
In 1976 John wrote Biblos – a silhouette of the Bible. He said it was for “those who want a basic knowledge of the Bible without being involved with the various religions which roost in its branches.”
In 1987 he wrote a brief ‘tract’ called Exhortation – towards a true balance which he published privately. Over the years he mailed out 25,000 copies of Exhortation around the world.
After retiring from teaching, John lived in Suffolk with his wife, Josephine, where he continued to plant orchards, woodlands and hedges, running a business called ‘Secret Gardens’. He had an enduring love of the countryside and people who know its ways. In later life he kept bees, whose lives he found fascinating.
John himself wrote:
“I live in Suffolk but I was born in Kent with a trace of Cornish blood somewhere along the line. I spent the first third of my time on this planet trying to grow up in a vicarage, two boarding schools, the Royal Navy (briefly), Cambridge (also briefly) and as a lorry driver building the M1 motorway; the second third was teaching, marrying a lovely actress and bringing up two fabulous daughters; the third third in Suffolk planting trees, marvelling at our miraculous grandsons, their parents and their music, and at the astonishing artwork of their aunt, our first daughter in East London, and at the good-natured endurance of my wife here at home. Thanks to the stimulating novelties of life in East Anglia I think I am at last beginning to grow up.”
Please email John’s wife, Jo Rogers: firstname.lastname@example.org
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