URBANA — Elizabeth Parker Rogers passed away in her sleep Friday (April 24, 2020) at MeadowBrook Health Center, Urbana, where she had been a resident for several years.
Over her 100-year lifetime, she led a rich and full life. She is survived by her five children, Susan W. Rogers (John Siskin) of Lamy, New Mexico, Michael Y. Rogers (Marian Moore) of Milton, Ga., Sarah W. Rogers of Indianapolis, David Y. Rogers (Gay Appleby) of London, England, and John P. Rogers (Mary) of Wheaton; and several grandchildren.
Elizabeth was predeceased by her parents, all of her siblings and many of her friends and relatives.
Elizabeth Parker Belcher was born Aug. 27, 1919, in Plymouth, Mass., as the second of six children of Edward R. and Helen Barnes Belcher. She received her bachelor of science (1940) and master's (1942) degrees in chemistry from Mount Holyoke College. In 1945, she joined the American Red Cross Overseas and ran a “Donut Dugout” in Chalons-sur-Marne, supporting the troops liberating France and the rest of Europe. At the end of the war, she took a teaching position far from her home in Massachusetts, at Rockford College Illinois.
In 1952, she received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Northwestern University. That same year, she married Warren H. Yudkin (d. 1954), with whom she had two children. In 1956, she married Robert W. Rogers (d. 1992, former dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois in Urbana). Bob also brought two children to the marriage, and together, Bob and Elizabeth had their fifth. Elizabeth taught chemistry at the University of Illinois from 1963 through 1987. This was a challenging period, as she was managing a large family of (mostly) teenagers and supporting her husband’s career during the campus riots of the late ‘60s, while herself struggling to overcome the societal constraints on women at the time, particularly in the sciences. In 1987, she retired from her teaching position and became the full-time caregiver for her husband, who had developed Alzheimer’s. This was the source of her dedication to building support networks for the primary caregivers of Alzheimer’s victims.
Elizabeth Rogers had unconditional love for her family, Mount Holyoke College, University of Illinois and the UofI’s football and basketball programs (not necessarily in that order). She treasured her roots in Plymouth but loved the farmlands of central Illinois, where she spent most of her life. She authored two chemistry textbooks and co-authored a third. She became one of the founding directors of the East Central Illinois chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. She was a member of the American Chemical Society, the Illinois Association of Chemistry Teachers, the Champaign Social Science Club, the Krannert Art Museum Council, the World Heritage Museum Guild, the Friends of the University of Illinois Library, the League of Women’s Voters, the Fighting Illini Chief’s Club and many others. In 1992, she was honored by the Sid Granet Award by the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging. In 1995, she was awarded a certificate of Lifetime Achievement by the Illinois Department on Aging.
As a memory of Elizabeth’s life, please consider a donation to Second Church of Plymouth, 518 State Road, Manomet, MA 02345; Church of the Pilgrimage, 8 Town Square, Plymouth, MA 02360; or to an organization of your choice.
Celebration of life services are planned, but dates are pending COVID-19 outcomes.
Morgan Memorial Home, Savoy, assisted with arrangements.