Fly fishing

Dr Jack David Rogers | Obituary

Dr Jack D. Rogers, 83, professor emeritus of the WSU Regents, passed away peacefully at his home in Pullman on Monday, June 14, 2021 after a long illness.

Jack was a nationally and internationally renowned mycologist, a dedicated and inspiring educator, avid hunter and fly fishing enthusiast, a wonderful comedian and most of all a devoted husband to his wife, Belle, and the father of his twin daughters, Rebecca. Ann (Hines) and Barbara. Lee (Cooper). He will be sadly missed by his family and his international network of colleagues, friends and former students.

Jack was born September 3, 1937 to Jack Rogers (Youkobis Uzskuriatis) and Thelma Rogers (née Coon), both teachers in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. After graduating from Point Pleasant High School in 1955, Jack dated Davis and Elkins. College (W.Va.), and in a five-year co-op program with Duke University (NC) earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Davis and Elkins and a Master of Science degree in Forest Management from Duke. He then received his doctorate in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1963.

Early in his freshman year at Davis and Elkins, Jack met his classmate Belle Clay Spencer, daughter of University of Virginia chemistry professor Dr. Hugh M. Spencer and Thomasia Spencer (née Hancock). They married in June 1958 at Belle’s family home in Charlottesville, Virginia, and began a devoted 63-year marriage. They were lucky enough to have twin daughters, Rebecca and Barbara, in June 1964.

In 1963, Jack joined the faculty of Washington State University’s College of Agriculture, beginning an educational career in the departments of plant pathology and forestry that spanned half a century. He has taught forest tree pathology and advanced mycology, and has been a professor and major advisor to graduate and post-graduate students. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a full professor and was chairman of the plant pathology department from 1985 to 1999. International authority on xylarias fungi, he is the author and co-author of over 230 scientific articles and two books mycological. . Jack has traveled the world on mycological research and specimen collecting trips, but by far his first priority and first passion was teaching his students. His numerous awards for educational and scientific excellence included the RM Wade Award for Instruction (1967); President of the Mycological Society of America (1978); the Sahlin Faculty of Excellence Award for Research, Fellowships and the Arts (1986); and the Mycological Society of America Weston Award for Excellence in Teaching (1992). In 2004, he received the Mycological Society of America’s Distinguished Mycologist Award. Additionally, he received the Library Excellence Award for Service to WSU Libraries in 2005. Jack received the WSU Eminent Faculty Award in 2006, and was promoted to Professor Regents in 2007. He was the subject of a book by tributes from colleagues edited by a former student. and retired WSU professor Dr. Dean A. Glawe.

In addition to Jack’s professional accomplishments, he was also an avid outdoorsman, a friend to many, and a legendary comedian. He particularly enjoyed hunting pheasant and quail on the faults of the Snake River and fly fishing in the rivers and lakes of the Pacific Northwest. Jack was a regular at his two coffee groups as well as the Pullman Presbyterian Church Men’s Bible Study, and enjoyed visiting his many colleagues and friends. Jack loved a good joke or a humorous story and had the rare ability to remember and tell all the entertaining anecdotes he had ever heard. Every time he said “This reminds me of a story …” it indicated that whoever he was with would soon be laughing until their sides hurt.

Jack is survived by Belle, his loving wife and constant companion for 63 years, and his daughters and their families: Becky and her husband Warren of Papillion, Neb., With twin grandsons Ethan and Gareth; and Barbie and her husband Brad from Martinez, California. He is also survived by his sister Mary Ann Mansour and her husband George of Lansing, Michigan; her sister Nancy Sanders and her husband Larry of Williamsport, Pennsylvania; and several nieces and nephews.

According to Jack’s wishes, the family requests that memorials be turned over to the Pullman Fire Department or the Salvation Army.

A funeral service will be held Friday at 2 p.m. at the Pullman City Cemetery. Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman was responsible for the arrangements. Online condolences can be sent to

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