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  Wednesday, November 27, 2002
  Eastern Shore News

Eastern Shore Personalities - Continuing a love of fishing
Remains of popular angler Grayson Rogers will be used in unique bayside artificial reef


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 saying.

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 sites.

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 ball contractor.

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 Virginia waters.

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 fishing piers.

"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 tshockley@smgpo.gannett.com

Originally published Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Links to other Rogers Stories & Pictures

The Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 22, 2002 Man who loved bay memorialized in reef ball

Sea Search of Virginia (Reef Ball Authorized Contractor) Grayson Rogers Memorial Reef Day and Grand Opening Pictures.


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