Jennie Rogers Moore of Marionville holds a
picture of her father, Grayson Rogers, an avid fisherman whose
remains were recently placed in a reef ball.
MARIONVILLE -- Plenty of people like fishing. But Grayson Rogers
of Franktown lived it and loved it. He advocated its preservation
for future generations. And when he died, he wanted to continue
improving the fishery.
The well-known, good-humored Rogers, who owned Rogers' Brothers
grocery store in Cheriton for years before retiring, died on Sept.
12. He would have turned 77 years old on Monday.
Jeannie Rogers Moore, one of his four children, recalls her
father joking about funeral plans.
"He said for several years, 'just put me in a potato sack, hook
it to a cinder block and put it out to sea,'" Moore remembers him
Instead, Moore shared with him information on a company that
places cremation remains in cement bells that are used as artificial
reefs. "He liked the idea," she said.
After he was stricken with cancer, they discussed the plan
further. Rogers wanted some of his remains interred. He wanted some
more placed in two special seaside spots. Some more was to be
sprinkled over "The Cell," a prime bayside fishing spot. Even more
was to be taken to a special fishing location in Alaska.
And some was to be molded into an artificial reef, which are
placed in the water to restore ailing reefs and create new fishing
After Rogers died, Moore called Eternal Reef, a Georgia company
that places the ashes of avid anglers in the concrete structures.
They coordinated with Sea Search of Virginia, an authorized reef
Last Thursday, Moore; her sister, Lynne Rogers; son Patrick; and
mother Virginia traveled to Norfolk to place her father's ashes in
the cement reef. They also attached a plaque on the reef with the
names and dates.
The Rogers have four children: Moore, Lynne Rogers of Franktown,
Paul Rogers of Kiptopeke, and Johnny Rogers of Chesterfield.
"They were just the most pleasant people to deal with," said
Moore of the organizations that helped her with the project. Rogers'
remains will be included in the first "eternal reef" ever placed in
For Moore, who is the Cape Charles town clerk and lives with her
husband, Matthew, near Marionville, it was a special moment.
For years, Grayson Rogers was active the Coastal Conservation
Association and lobbied in Richmond on fishing regulations and
issues, including the institution of a saltwater fishing license.
Later, he served on a Virginia Recreational Fishing Advisory
Board committee and worked with local fishing clubs to get requests,
then public hearings, for projects including reefs, boat ramps and
"He never did it for himself," Moore said. "It was always for his
kids and grandkids."
The reef ball will harden for the next six weeks before it is
taken to a spot near Nassawadox and placed in the bay. Moore said it
should last 500 years.
When it is placed, probably early next year, she hopes to get a
number of her father's angling friends to follow in their boats from
the dock to witness the sinking of the reef ball.
"We're hoping to have a big caravan of little boats follow us out
there when we do it," she said.
"I'm just glad I was able to be a part of fulfilling his wishes,"
said Moore. "Dad started looking out for the Eastern Shore's
resources 20 years ago. With the reef ball, his legacy to increase
resources will live on."
Reach Ted Shockley at email@example.com
Originally published Wednesday, November 27, 2002