Harold Rogers (Spanish/French Teacher) Died 7/12/09, Lived in Japan 1946-2009 Retired DoDDS 1990
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Harold Rogers, 88, died in Tokyo, Japan, on July 12, 2009. He was born in New York City in 1920, son of Abraham Radetzky, a manufacturer of medical supplies. He received his BA from Columbia University in 1941 and an MA from Columbia Teachers College in 1942. In college, he developed a lifelong tendency to "test" friends and associates. Mr. Rogers entered the US Navy Japanese/Oriental Language School at the University of Colorado on July 7, 1942. He was a student there with other Columbia graduates, James Di Crocco, Paul Hauck, Sanford Rogers, Gene Sosin, Bill Voelker, and Owen Zurhellen II, graduating in the summer of 1943 with graduate school credit. While at JLS, he participated in the comical musical revue “But Thinking Makes It So,” with Di Crocco, Hauck, Harry Muheim, and Larry Vincent.
Mr. Rogers was not commissioned after JLS due to mobility problems in his left arm from a childhood accident. So, after finishing JLS and being honorably discharged from the Navy, he went to California to teach French and Spanish to Japanese-American internees at Manzanar High School. There, he had a trucker's license because the Japanese-Americans at the internment camp who got jobs in the East needed to have someone to escort them over the California state line. He would drive them over to Reno periodically.
During the Occupation, Mr. Rogers became a teacher in Japan, residing there from 1946 to 2009. Immediately after he arrived in Japan, he was sent to Sendai to teach illiterate American soldiers to read and write English; next he worked in Fukuoka and then in Tokyo. There, he taught French, Spanish, and occasionally Latin at various Department of Defense Dependents' Schools (DoDDS): Meguro High School (which later became the American School in Japan; this had been private but then was taken over by the US Government for a number of years after the war); Narimasu High School (in Grant Heights) until the school closed in 1971; Yamato HS (on Tachikawa AFB, 1971-73); and finally Yokota HS (on Yokota AFB), when Yamato HS closed in 1973. Joyce Imazeki Yamamoto was a student in his Spanish classes in 1952-54 at Narimasu High School. Her father, Howard Imazeki, had been a Sensei at USN JLS/OLS and was now a civilian with the Department of the Army (G2, ATIS, MISG) in Tokyo. Mr. Rogers had been one of his students in Boulder, and he would often ask Joyce Imazeki to give his regards to Sensei. Ms. Yamamoto stated that Mr. Rogers was highly respected professionally, judging from the comments of former students and fellow teachers.
After retiring in 1990, Mr. Rogers worked part-time as a native English-speaking advisor in Tokyo Metropolitan Suginami High School and Musashi High School. In 1991, he was able to concurrently attend his daughter's graduation and his own 50th anniversary class reunion at Columbia University, feeling he was “perhaps the first alumnus to have that thrill.” His friends and relatives remember his storytelling, poetry recitals, sarcasm, and jokes.
He is survived by his wife Sophie Fumie; brother George; daughter Paula; and son-in-law William.
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