On Wednesday, September 8, 2021, Elaine Rogers passed away at her home in Wellsville, Kansas from dementia and Parkinson's complications. Her loving husband of 61 years was by her side, singing Amazing Grace.
Ethel Elaine Rogers was born November 16, 1943, to Emilee "Lavon" and Harry Herbert Hickock, in Lawrence Kansas, where she grew up. She met her husband, Bill Rogers, on a hayrack ride in 1958 and they were married In 1960. They made their first home on a small farm in Vinland Kansas, before moving to Bonner Springs and then to Olathe, Ks, where they lived for 35 years.
Elaine had a natural calling to care for young children. While raising 5 children of her own, she operated a registered daycare out of her home. In 1970, Elaine took a sign language class with a friend, who had a deaf child. Learning sign language introduced Elaine to the deaf community in Olathe and it wasn't long before Elaine saw great needs within the deaf community. Her daycare grew as she assumed the care of the children of many deaf and hard of hearing families in Olathe. Elaine’s presence in the deaf community grew as she volunteered to help start the Sertoma Deaf Message Relay Service. This home based service provided the means for hearing Impaired people to call Elaine via a tele-type machine (TTY). She then helped by being their voice, as she placed their calls, making doctor's appointments, calling schools to report absences and calling their work etc. While Elaine was operating this free service, along with her daycare, the message relay service exceeded 400 calls per month. Elaine's presence in the deaf community increased as she saw the need to share her love for the Lord with the deaf community. She began interpreting church services, at Overland Park Church of Christ. She also made her way into the television circuit, interpreting church services at local TV stations.
Combining her love for kids with her involvement in the deaf community, Elaine worked as a girls dormitory teacher at Kansas School for the Deaf (KSD) for 8 years, providing a healthy structured home-like environment, helping the girls develop communication skills, important social skills and a healthy means of expressing their feelings. While this position was challenging, it was also rewarding. Elaine also acted as an assistant leader in the Girl Scout for the Deaf Girl Scouts. Blessed with a tremendous imagination, Elaine filled Girl Scout camping trips with skits, nature hikes, art projects, cooking, story telling and lots of fun.
Elaine and her husband bought an old school bus, which they renovated, making it a comfortable camping experience for their large family of 7. After traveling around the USA, Elaine also enjoyed dream vacations to the Holy Land and Hawaii.
Elaine and Bill moved to Kingsville Missouri, were they once again, were deeply involved in their church. Elaine had a natural talent for music and singing. She was an accomplished accordion player and a self taught pianist. Elaine also learned to play an electronic harpsichord. In addition to singing in the church choir with her husband, Sunday afternoons were spent singing to residents in nursing homes around Lee's Summit. Along with traditional worship songs, the traveling choir sang songs written by Elaine. As Elaine's dementia progressed, Bill often sang praise songs to provide comfort in her times of confusion.
In 2008, Elaine and Bill moved to Wellsville, Ks to be closer to family.
Elaine's family was extremely important to her. Elaine leaves behind her husband, Bill Rogers, of Wellsville, Kansas, daughter Tami (Larry Lucas) of Edmond, Oklahoma, son Bruce Rogers of Olathe, daughter Anita Rogers of Wellsville, son Alan Rogers of Hutchinson, and daughter Angela (Jason Wright) of Olathe. Elaine also leaves behind a brother Harold Hickock (Anna Marie) of Lecompton, Ks, a brother John Hickock of Ottawa, Ks, 16 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and many treasured life-long friends.
Elaine's Celebration of Life will be held 6 to 8 PM on Friday October 22, 2021, at the Four Square Chapel, located at 9th and Hickory, in Ottawa, Ks.
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