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Lemuel A. Rogers Jr. MD was the first of eight children (seven boys and one girl) born to the union of the late Lemuel Arsea Rogers, Sr. and Jessie Lee (MASON) Rogers in Norristown, Pennsylvania. His life began on August 12, 1933 when the country was four years into The Great Depression.
Education: His early education was in Norristown where he attended Winfield Scott Hancock Elementary School, Rittenhouse Junior High and A. D. Eisenhower Sr. High School from which he graduated in 1951. After high school, Lemuel attended Penn State and Lincoln University as a pre-med student, but did not graduate from either. He needed some time to mature, so the remedy for him in the Rogers household was an enlisted stint in the post-Korean War Army. As a Private in the Artillery Division of the Army, he reluctantly became a world traveler and was stationed at Camp Younghans, Japan. Upon discharge from the service, Lemuel renewed his pursuit of an education and enrolled at Franklin and Marshall College where his younger brother, Richard, a Dean’s List rising junior was two years ahead of him. No doubt, pride played a part in his newfound sense of purpose. While Franklin and Marshall admitted him, he was not permitted to enter as a pre-med student. However, the wisdom of his father and brother prevailed: “so what, you are not premed - take all the premed courses you want, they can’t stop you.” And the rest is history; Lemuel graduated in 1959 with a BS in Biology and received a recommendation from F&M’s pre-med faculty committee to attend Howard University Medical School.
Marriage/Family: On November 22, 1958, Lemuel married his bride of fifty-three years, Gloria (Benson), who passed away November 4, 2011. Gloria obviously was the steadying hand during his med school, internship and residency years, because it was during those years they started their family which consists of three loving children: Lemuel III (Artie), Lisa and Lawrence (Larry). He was a consummate provider, the foundation for his family and unwavering in his commitment to his community.
Medical Career: Dr. Rogers received his medical degree in 1963 from Howard University Medical School. He was offered and accepted an internship with the National Institute of Health which took him and his young family to Watertown, Mass. for several years. Thereafter, he completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Philadelphia General Hospital. On July 1, 1967, he announced his intention to establish an OB/GYN practice at the Temple University Health Sciences Center in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia practice was short-lived because he elected to partner with the late James O. Roberson MD in a Rochester partnership which lasted from 1968 – 1981. They were two of the first African American doctors in Rochester, NY to build and own a medical building and joint practice. Thereafter, he continued as a solitary practitioner until his retirement in 1998. Over the course of his 30 plus years of practice, it is estimated that he delivered more than 5,000 babies including one set of quadruplets. He was affiliated with two hospitals in Rochester, Highland and Saint Mary’s.
Affiliations/Memberships: Dr. Rogers was Board Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. An active member of the National Medical Association, he rarely missed attending NMA conventions held throughout the United States. Notwithstanding the obligations of a busy practice, he found time to give back to his community by serving on the Board of Rochester Blue Cross/Blue Shield. It is noteworthy, Dr. Rogers and his wife, Gloria sponsored the African-American Health Symposium under the auspices of the Alzheimer’s Association, Rochester and Finger Lakes Region. Prior to his death, in 2015, the symposium was renamed the Dr. Lemuel and Gloria Rogers African American Alzheimer Health Symposium. It is an annual event held at the Mount Olivet Baptist Church during the month of July or August.
Dr. Rogers’s relationship with Christ began in his youth at his family’s church, Siloam Baptist in Norristown, Pennsylvania. He joined Mt. Olivet Baptist Church along with his family in 1969 and was active in Sunday School. With a true love for music he sang with the Male Chorus and Adult Choir. He also dutifully served as a member of the Building Fund Committee and Trustee Board.
Dr. Rogers was initiated into Beta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. at Lincoln University in 1953. Once he moved to Rochester, NY be became a devoted member of the Theta Omicron Chapter. He sang in the Omega Select Chorus of which he was a charter member. He served on several chapter committees during his 62 years of service to the fraternity.
Dr. Rogers was also a 1985 charter member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Gamma Iota Boulé (Rochester NY) which he served dutifully until his illness.
Legacy: Dr. Lemuel A. Rogers sought and accepted nothing less than your best and he gave nothing less than his. His untiring drive to help and mentor members of his community and encourage, excellence, will forever be remembered.