In Memoriam: T. Gary Rogers' Lasting Legacy Ripples Well Beyond California Crew

Reflections on the memorial service for T. Gary Rogers (Photo: Scott Del Vecchio)

Monday marked the day for T. Gary Rogers memorial celebration at his eponymous rowing center. California Rowing Club oarsman Scott Del Vecchio was there, shot photos of the event, and offers the following reflections.

On May 15th, under a bright blue California sky, there we were: 1,000 people, standing together, united to celebrate one person. While some us had never met him, every single one of our lives was touched in one way or another by this man. And though it was a memorial, it seems more fitting to call it a celebration of life, because as sad as those moments can be, most were smiling and laughing at the stories told by his family and friends.

The T. Gary Rogers Rowing Center, which houses Cal men's and women's rowing, as well as the California Rowing Club, was filled with memories. Multiple generations, from non-rowers to legendary athletes and coaches, came to simply pay their respects to the man who created an incredible legacy in the Bay Area, and up and down the West Coast.

Everyone who knew him well seemed to say the same thing: “Don’t go outside with Gary Rogers!” Indeed, few could match his intense sense of adventure and pushing the limits.

What truly stood out to me, though, was his generosity—this was the true theme of his life, whether he gifted a camel to a stranger in India, funded a multitude of programs, down to making CRC a reality, he never ceased to take advantage of opportunity, and success followed.

The ceremony came to an end as a Cal boat slowly rowed down the Estuary, the two-seat kept open in his memory, to the tune of a solitary trumpet. He will be missed. He will be remembered.

Thanks very much to Scott Del Vecchio. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @scottdelvecchio.

You can learn more about Rogers' tremendous legacy via USRowing here.


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