Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Charlie Rogers

Epilogue: Charlie Rogers liked fast cars and Elvis, Jeopardy and Pepsi

Charlie Rogers didn't just maintain a 1968 Camaro or the succession of Dodges that followed; he tweaked them for maximum speed. He didn't teach his children the importance of yes sir and no sir and getting straight A's in school; he ground those demands into them.

He played Monopoly to drive his family and friends into financial ruin. Even Jeopardy! was a game-on event.

"He was competitive even with that game," said Charlene Ierna, his daughter. "He would watch it every night and call out the answers. If he had an off day, he would actually turn it off."

Mr. Rogers, a retired general contractor, also had a welcoming side. He might rouse his children from bed at 4 a.m. to dig for worms so their fishing poles would be dangling over the Hillsborough River by dawn.

He didn't just take his children into the woods hundreds of times, he turned the trips into National Geographic specials, catching snakes with his bare hands and showing them how to estimate the age of an oak tree (diameter in inches times four). He drank no alcohol but burned the back of his throat with Pepsi all his waking hours.

He flew over the highways to Elvis or Little Richard, yackety-yacking with truckers on the CB.

On weekends, Mr. Rogers drove amateur figure-eight races at Golden Gate Speedway. Away from the track, police never once caught him speeding. At home he read the encyclopedia and tried to beat the people on Jeopardy!, sending his children to a corner store when he ran out of Pepsi.

Charles Beryl Rogers was born in East Point, Ga., in 1945. He moved to Tampa around age 7, ran track at Jesuit High. He hung drywall, then passed his contractor's exam. Mr. Rogers built commercial structures in downtown Tampa, including the 42-story Barnett Plaza building (now Bank of America Plaza). A marriage to Julia Zuwalski lasted six years; another, to Iris Parrish, lasted 12.

For the past 17 years, he lived on a wooded 2-acre property in Hernando, near Inverness. He died there June 24 of an apparent heart attack. Mr. Rogers was 68.

At his memorial service Saturday at the Tampa Firefighters Museum, daughter Stacy Rogers read an original poem that included these lines: For not only our Father, but a legend has passed. … Mr. Rogers, Ole Blue eyes. … You big pain in our a--!

Celebrants toasted Charlie Rogers in the only way he would have sanctioned — with Pepsi, in 12-ounce glass bottles.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at or (727) 892-2248.


Charles Beryl "Charlie" Rogers

Born: June 18, 1945

Died: June 24, 2013

Survivors: daughters, Sherri Rogers Pope, Kim Rogers Dixon, Charlene Rogers Ierna and Stacy Rogers; son, Charlie Beryl Rogers; brothers, James and Watson "Lefty" Rogers, Thurman and Wayne Hammock; and nine grandchildren.

Epilogue: Charlie Rogers liked fast cars and Elvis, Jeopardy and Pepsi 07/04/13 [Last modified: Thursday, July 4, 2013 6:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Drinking alcohol on St. Pete Beach beaches now allowed — for hotel guests only

    Local Government

    ST. PETE BEACH — Guests at gulf-front hotels here can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas.

    Guests relax on the beach near the Don Cesar at St. Pete Beach. Guests at gulf-front hotels in St. Pete Beach can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas after the change was passed unanimously by the City Commission Tuesday night. Residents and other beachgoers who are not registered guests of the hotels continue to be barred from imbibing anywhere on the city's beaches.
  2. Man found floating in 'Cotee River in New Port Richey

    Public Safety

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A body was found floating in the Pithlachascotee River on Tuesday morning, police said.

  3. More than 13,000 fact-checks later, PolitiFact celebrates 10-year mark


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bill Adair still remembers the moment when he realized his idea to fact-check politicians could turn into something big.

    (from left to right) Aaron Sharockman, Politifact executive director introduces a panel featuring Angie Holan, Politifact editor; PolitiFact founder Bill Adair and Tampa Bay Times Editor and Vice President Neil Brown at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event celebrated 10 years of PolitiFact and its growth since 2007. The panel discussed the history of the organization and how it goes about fact-checking. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times]
  4. Trump, McConnell feud threatens GOP agenda


    The relationship between President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.

    Sen. Mitch McConnell has fumed over Trump’s criticism.
  5. Baker lowers expectations for primary


    Rick Baker officially lowered expectations Tuesday, saying his “battle for the future of the city” against Mayor Rick Kriseman might last until November.

    Rick Baker addresses supporters on Beach Drive Tuesday