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Marion Lane Banks Rogers, of St. James, died Jan. 27, at the age of 100.
She was born Dec. 26, 1918, in Missouri, grew up in Georgia and moved to New York City when she was 20. There she met and married Dr. Frederick Rand Rogers (1894–1972). He was a radical American educator, pioneer of physical fitness testing and inventor of the Physical Fitness Index.
They moved to California where their daughter Marion Lane Rogers was born. They spent years in Palo Colorado Canyon, south of Monterey, where they built their own home. They eventually moved to New York, living in Sea Gate in Brooklyn. Their final home was in St. James.
Marion worked at the Environmental Defense Fund during its fledgling years, contributing to safer water, rivers and streams all over the U.S. and the growth of one of America´s most important environmental organizations. She was the author of “Acorn Days: The Environmental Defense Fund and How It Grew,” the history of EDF.
She often wrote to newspapers and magazines, commenting on cultural and political events, and she wrote many stories. She was a vivacious, spirited, humorous and clever writer and corresponded on her trusty typewriter with friends and family all of her life. She knew the words to every song and play that she had ever heard, read or seen. Marion loved to garden and planted and nurtured gorgeous grounds, filled with all variety of flowers, trees and vegetables at their gracious home in St. James.
She was always entertaining friends, neighbors, children and family. She also loved horses and for decades hosted many a riotous Kentucky Derby party with her daughter Marion. No one wanted to miss this annual event. She adored animals, had many cats and especially loved dogs that always sat at her feet by the fireplace, which was almost always aglow.
Marion had a wry sense of humor, was raised as a gracious, accomplished, southern woman, retaining her Georgian accent all her life. She was a devoted friend and mentor for many younger women in her extended family and a powerful source of inspiration, moderation and joy to one and all who knew her. She was a staunch believer in democratic principles, equality, justice and civility.
As her daughter has said, “She was determined to share her knowledge and love of family and environment with this world.” Her many friends and extended family mourn the passing of this very great and wise woman. She is survived by her daughter Marion Lane Rogers and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends.
A memorial gathering will be held at St. James Funeral Home, 829 Middle Country Road, St. James, Feb. 8 from 4 to 5 p.m.
Guide Dog Foundation
37 NY 25, Smithtown Hamlet NY 11787
Enviormental Defense Fund
1875 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20009