An avid fisherman, John Grayson Rogers advocated for
artificial reefs to encourage marine life. Now his cremated
remains are within an eternal reef ball in waters off his
Eastern Shore home.
As friends and family cast red roses and said final
goodbyes from a ship Monday, the concrete ball was lowered
slowly into the green depths of the Chesapeake Bay.
Hes on the bottom now, ladies and gentlemen! announced a
worker for Sea Search of Virginia, a Norfolk company that
makes, sells and sinks these artificial reefs that resemble
giant pocked balls.
Im glad theyre finally doing this, said his wife, Virginia
Rogers, because I know hed love this being done. The water,
the bay. Taking care of it was his priority.
While Rogers was a grocer for much of his 76 years, his
passion was fishing, and the protection of that sport for
Twelve boatloads of old fishing buddies, longtime friends,
state officials and a Coast Guard crew made the trip to
Rogerss final resting spot _ about 3 miles north of the mouth
of Nassawadox Creek, in about 30 feet of water.
His reef ball joins an existing artificial reef there, one
of 16 in state waters in the lower Chesapeake and along the
Atlantic coast. Each is marked with a yellow buoy, and each
consists of stuff like surplus Army tanks, trucks, fishing
boats, rail cars and unwanted concrete slabs from highways and
A Georgia company, Eternal Reefs, started offering these
alternative funerals in 1998. So far, about 125 reef balls
have been submerged, mostly off Florida, Georgia and South
The balls cost between $850 and $3,200, depending on size.
The Rogers family bought a larger one, called a pallet ball,
about 3 feet high and 4 feet wide. It weighs more than 1,400
pounds and acts as a small marine habitat, attracting fish to
its hollow interior and shellfish to its concrete sides.
Sea Search of Virginia is negotiating with state regulators
to allow more eternal balls in the bay.