Helen Claire Smith Rogers, beloved wife of Sam, passed to be with her Lord on Monday morning, February 10th, 2020. Helen was born in Douglas, Georgia on February 6th, 1937 to Frances Gertrude Wester Smith and Chester Morgan Smith, Sr. She grew up all over Georgia . . . 11 different towns, from as far north as Cartersville to down on the Florida line. . . but always vacationed and summered in the Smith home at Abbeville, Wilcox County, Georgia. Helen married Reverend Samuel Gordon Rogers, III of the South Georgia (now United) Methodist Conference at Abbeville on June 7th, 1957, continuing the almost-lifelong pattern of moving to many Georgia towns to serve local parishes and our Lord, their last appointment being Tifton, Georgia. Helen and Sam moved to Carlyle Place in Macon in 2013. They were married for over 62 years.
During her years of formal education, despite attending so many different schools, Helen achieved the highest grade average in her graduating class at Valdosta High. She then moved to complete her BA in Mathematics, graduating from Agnes Scott College, Phi Beta Kappa. Helen also earned 40 hours of postgraduate credits in Education, serving for a time teaching math in Warner Robins and also at Glynn Academy High in Brunswick. She worked as a warranty clerk and computer programmer (in the very early days of commercial computing) at the Chevrolet dealership in Warner Robins. She also completed many hours of Christian Education provided by the United Methodist Church, using her knowledge teaching 5th and 6th grade Sunday school classes, Confirmation classes, training other teachers in the Church, organizing Christian Education programs for churches, and teaching adult Sunday school classes. Helen produced and hosted a daily show called “Good News” on Macon’s local Christian cable channel for four years. She was among the very first leaders of the Disciple Bible Study.
Many, many people, young and old, experienced the kind, loving, and highly organized lessons engendered by Helen, both by the spoken word and her marvelously graceful walk as she drew closer and closer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Her teaching of both sacred and secular topics was a true source of delight in Helen’s life.
Helen and Sam served churches in Waycross, Kingsland, Brunswick, Warner Robins, Columbus (two different congregations), St. Simons Island, Macon, Isle of Hope, and Tifton. Helen was a loyal member of Vineville United Methodist in Macon at the time of her death and a devoted member of the Webb Sunday school class. One of the joys in her life was partnering with her husband Sam in their ministries to folks all over the southern portion of her beloved state of Georgia for 42 years. For the last 10 years Helen and Sam coauthored Sunday School lessons for the South Georgia Advocate.
Another set of joys in Helen’s life were the three children that she and Sam reared, and their nine grandchildren, all finding places of service in the world. She was a wonderful homemaker and mother, seeming to always have the time, somehow, to fill those roles while accomplishing so much more. Her living legacy: son Samuel Gordon Rogers IV (Talbot County, GA; m. Gina Leigh Gore; children Samuel Gordon (Quint) V, Joseph Gordon (m. Chelsie), and Jamie Leigh. Daughter Deborah Claire (Macon; m. Charles Edward Cox Jr.; children Helen Louise and Taylor Claire (m. William Kyle Anderson). Daughter Frances Holland (Holly) (Amissville, VA; m. Brian Edward Markwalter; children Chester Edward (m. Kelly), Daniel Webb (m. Christine), Kyle Samuel (m. Gabriela), Theresa Holland).
Helen also served the communities she lived in many other ways. She was both a Boy and Girl Scout leader, served in PTA/O groups, and organized a water advocacy and education group in Tift County that morphed over time to become Suwanee Riverkeeper, now responsible for water quality and flow over a huge swath of south Georgia and north Florida from her home county of Wilcox to the Gulf of Mexico. Helen also serviced on the Board of Wesley Glen Ministries, a service to adult special-needs citizens.
Helen will be missed: by her family, her many students of all sorts, by the legions of disciples and converts to our Lord, and most of all by her beloved and devoted husband Sam. But her legacy will live on in the form of joy, happiness, integrity, clean flowing water, and lessons in how to love; and her place near our Lord is assured.
Services to remember and honor Helen Claire Smith Rogers and our Lord were held at Vineville United Methodist Church Friday, February 14th, 2020. Helen and the family request that gifts be made to Vineville United Methodist and to Wesley Glen Ministries in lieu of flowers.
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Hart’s at the Cupola, Hart's Mortuary and Cremation Center, 6324 Peake Rd, Macon, GA 31210 has charge of the arrangements.