Former Mayor “flowered where he was planted”
Alderman Stephen Rogers laid to rest
Stephen Rogers, who served two terms as Mayor of Waterford city, was laid to rest in Saint Killian’s Cemetery, Ferrybank following Requiem Mass at St Joseph and St Benildus’ Church on Thursday last.
Mr Rogers (Viewmount), who was Waterford’s First Citizen in 1979-80 (as a Fine Gael member) and 1994-95 (as an Independent), was recalled at his Funeral Mass as “a fine servant of Waterford city”.
During his homily, Father Tom Rogers PP, a nephew of the late Mr Rogers, recalled the 25 years of public service his uncle devoted to the people of Waterford.
“He served twice as Mayor…and he would be so honoured and pleased to see members of the current Council here today, and here last (Wednesday) night. During that time, I’m sure he did many favours for people; the work of local representatives is very demanding, probably even more demanding now and many of us who are not involved don’t realise how much our local representatives put into serving the community.”
Fr Rogers continued: “I lived next door to Stephen for five years as Curate in this Parish, something which we didn’t plan on and I remember his late wife Kathleen saying to me: ‘Well, Tom, there’s one thing certain: they’ll never put you in Benildus because they wouldn’t put you next door to Stephen. But the Bishop did put me next door to Stephen, and shall we say, I enjoyed his taste in music during those five years – the walls were not very thick!”
Fr Tom added: “That was part of Stephen’s life, he very much enjoyed music, whether it was light opera, grand opera, the classics…it was very much a part of his life and very much a consolation in his latter years.”
As a public representative, Fr Tom told the congregation that everybody knew where Stephen Rogers lived.
“There could be a knock on the door or a phone call; maybe it was somebody looking for (fellow Councillor) Davy Daniels but they actually got Stephen, being next door neighbours, the two of them served in the same ward and I’m sure they had their little battles and disagreements over the years, but nonetheless they remained good neighbours, particularly in the last year or so as Stephen slowed down, Davy was very good to him over that time and the family would like to acknowledge that, Davy.”
The first office holder at City Hall to drive a Mayoral car, Stephen Rogers was also part of Waterford Corporation’s drive to rejuvenate the People’s Park (spearheaded by Cllr Daniels), with the replacement ironwork for the bandstand produced by the (Stanley) Foundry, where he worked as a mechanical engineer for many years.
And, sadly, he remains the last Mayor to welcome an FAI Cup winning Waterford FC back to the city, brandishing Irish soccer’s most celebrated prize.
Fr Rogers said that his Uncle had demonstrated great commitment “to serve and look after his community – and that’s all that any of us can do – to flower where we’re planted, to look after those around us in the best way we can, to use what talents and gifts we have for the betterment of our community, and if we can do that in any small way, we are indeed blessed and can be sure that the Lord will have a great welcome for us.”
On behalf of the Rogers family, Fr Tom thanked the staff of Medical 1 at University Hospital Waterford, the doctors and staff of the Keogh Practice, “and especially Stephen’s close friend Claire, who did so much for him in not just the past year but in the last number of years”.
He commented: “Stephen was a proud Waterford man, a proud representative of this city, and was so proud of that representation that some may have noticed that in the phonebook, he never removed the title of Alderman…he would have been so delighted that so many of you took the time out to be with us today.”
Among the mourners were City and County Mayor Adam Wyse, Councillors Davy Daniels (Ind), Cha O’Neill (Ind), Jason Murphy (FF), Eddie Mulligan (FF) and Council Executive members Lar Power and Eddie Ruane.
Also in attendance were former Mayors Tom Cunningham and Hilary Quinlan, former councillor Sean Dower, former Mayor and Seanad Leader Maurice Cummins and former TD/ Senator and retired WIT Chairman, Dr Donie Ormonde.
Predeceased by beloved wife Kathleen and dear son David, Stephen Rogers is survived by sisters Renee and Agnes, brothers Tom, Tony and Harry, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives and his many friends, especially Claire. May he Rest In Peace.
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