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August 13, 2018
To the Membership of Tall Ships America and to the Tall Ship Community at Large,

Captain Robert “Bert” Lincoln Rogers (November 1956 – August 2018)

Captain Robert “Bert” Lincoln Rogers sailed across the bar on Saturday, August 11, 2018. “Bert” passed away suddenly in Spirit Lake, IA, surrounded by family.

At the time of his passing, Bert and his wife, Donna, were enjoying a family celebration at Lake Okoboji, where the Rogers family had spent many summers on the lake, sparking Bert’s love of sailing.

Bert’s life and passions led him on a course to the sea and a career as leader and mentor in Education at Sea and Sail Training. Bert said that water is life. His last days were spent on the Louisiana Bayou searching for new winter motorcycle cruising area, then heading to Des Moines, IA, to reconnect with lifelong Roosevelt High School friends before enjoying life for a few days on the waters of Lake Okoboji. While at the lake he treasured his beloved family, drinking in the laughter and love of family. Bert is remembered for his intellect, wit, teaching, leadership, seafaring excellence, and above all else, passion for life and family.

Born in Des Moines to Jim and Nancy Rogers, Bert lived with his two brothers, Barry Rogers (Prairie Village, KS) and Peter Rogers (Altoona, IA). Bert attended Beloit College where he was given his first opportunity to explore the maritime traditions of a life at Sea. He was a proud sailor who found the boundless sea and the lessons learned aboard a ship that would steer him on many adventures through his life. He provided a wealth of knowledge to many a timid sailor and could coax the fear of heights from a spineless lobster with his gentle encouragement. Prior to serving as Executive Director of Tall Ships America (aka American Sail Training Association), Bert was Executive Director of Ocean Classroom Foundation and Sail Inc., He worked his way up the hawsepipe and was Captain of the tall ships, SPIRIT OF MASSACHUSETTS, HARVEY GAMAGE among other schooners. The National Maritime Historical Society recognized Bert with its NMHS Distinguished Service Award at the New York Yacht Club in 2017.

Bert was preceded in death by his father, James Lyle Rogers, and his mother, Nancy Bristow Rogers DuBois. He is survived by his beloved Wife Donna (Giglio) whom he affectionately called La Dona, his two children, Victoria Hardy (Piermont, NY) and James Rogers (Wickford, RI), who is currently sailing around the world on board the PICTON CASTLE. He is also survived by brother Barry and his wife, Krista and their children: Benjamin Rogers, wife Kate and daughter Mabel, Bert and Donna’s first grand-niece (London); Katherine Rogers Weaver and her husband, Alexander (Los Angeles, CA); and Brian Rogers (Princeton, NJ), abroad in Munich; his brother Peter and his children, Claire Rogers (Marshalltown, IA), abroad in Saigon and Samuel (Marshalltown, IA); and sister-in-law Darlene Godin, her son Jesse Godin and his wife, Erin (Warwick, RI).

Memorial services will be held at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI, September 4, 2:00 pm. A celebration of Bert’s life will also take place in both Iowa and Rhode Island upon son James’ return home. Donations may be sent to the Bert Rogers Fund, c/o Tall Ships America, 221 3rd Street, Suite 101, Newport, RI, 02840. For updates on all services please see this space, or visit Tall Ships America on Facebook.
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