Dignitaries, family members and
representatives of a reef manufacturing firm watch on Monday
as the reef ball containing the ashes of local fisherman and
conservationist Grayson Rogers is lowered into the Chesapeake
Bay. It's the first eternal reef ball placed in Virginia
Looking into Grayson Rogers' reef ball
(clockwise, from bottom) are his son Johnny, daughters Lynne
and Jennie, and his widow, Virginia. As onlookers from a
caravan of a dozen boats watched, the ball -- which contains
Rogers' ashes -- was placed in the bay.
NASSAWADOX -- It was a pretty afternoon, sunny and not too warm.
For Grayson Rogers, much worse constituted fishing weather. He was
avid like that.
Rogers, who died in September at the age of 76, loved fishing and
loved ways to improve it. Formerly the owner of Rogers' Brothers
grocery store in Cheriton, he later served on a state committee that
helped build fishing reefs, boat ramps and piers.
Rogers decided before he died that he wanted some of his cremated
remains placed in a reef ball -- a cement structure placed in the
water to improve the fishery.
"He pushed for these reef sites," said Jennie Rogers Moore, one
of his four children. "How appropriate to put him in one."
Plenty of people make a difference during their lives. Maybe it
takes a rare person, like Rogers, to continue making a difference
On Monday -- one of the prettiest days of the year -- a dozen
boats filled with Rogers' family, friends and local officials,
including Del. Robert S. Bloxom and Northampton Supervisor Jack
White, boated to an area three miles from Nassawadox Creek to
deposit Rogers' ball at a reef site.
After it was lowered, attendees placed roses in the water.
"It couldn't have been more perfect," said Rogers, who attended
the service with her mother, Virginia Rogers, sister Lynne of
Franktown and brother Johnny, who lives in Chesterfield.
"It got me choked up a little bit."
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 year, they placed some of his ashes in the ball, which then
had to harden. It'll last 500 years and is embossed with a plaque
bearing Rogers' name.
Rogers' is the first eternal reef ball placed in Virginia waters.
He also requested that some of his remains be sprinkled over "The
Cell," a prime bayside fishing spot. There will also be some placed
in two special seaside spots. Still more is to be taken to a special
fishing destination in Alaska.
An angler herself, Moore said she'd soon be fishing the
Chesapeake Bay spot where her father's reef ball sits. "He might
give me a sign and let me catch a nice, big citation," she said.
"Wouldn't that be nice?"
For Moore, who is the Cape Charles town clerk and lives with her
husband, Matthew, near Marionville, the day was doubly special
because it was her birthday.
She first introduced the idea of a reef ball to her father.
Seeing his wishes honored was a nice gift.
"This was the best birthday present I could have asked for," she
Originally published Wednesday, April 30, 2003