Former longtime Las Vegas Review-Journal military reporter Keith Rogers was known among his colleagues for his generosity and enthusiasm.
Rogers, who turned 70 this month, died early Thursday in Las Vegas.
He is survived by his wife, Marian Green, deputy metro editor at the Review-Journal; sons Evan and Bryce Rogers; and his brother, Gary Rogers of Fordland, Missouri.
“He was an avid fly fisherman, loved to play disc golf and rooted faithfully for Michigan State,” Green said in an email Friday. “After leaving the Review-Journal, he worked on projects for the state of Nevada and was a strong supporter of veterans, lending a hand whenever he could to help amplify their concerns.”
She said his greatest joy came from being a father, “being actively involved in (his sons’) baseball and swimming teams, teaching them to fish and supporting them as they grew into adulthood.”
Keith Rogers’ journalism career spanned four decades, and he worked at the Review-Journal from 1990 to 2017. He joined the newspaper to cover the Nevada Test Site and then, military and veterans issues, and the environment.
That included Nellis and Creech Air Force bases, Nevada National Security Site, Nevada National Guard and Department of Veterans Affairs. He also covered topics related to nuclear weapons and waste, including the Yucca Mountain repository project.
Keith Rogers was a U.S. Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War era, and he also authored a few books.
Review-Journal Managing Editor Anastasia Hendrix said he was a talented photographer and videographer, “but he also had a gift for turning colleagues into lifelong friends.”
“He was genuine, warm-hearted and cared deeply about his co-workers,” Hendrix said. “He was always ready to listen, swap stories about their children’s adventures and accomplishments (as well as his own), and give advice — especially about the importance of swimming lessons. He will be greatly missed.”
‘Beacon of love’
Bryce Rogers said he’s grateful because he had the best father figure, noting his father was a “beacon of love” and provided constancy in his life.
“He was the most enthusiastic person to be around, and truly loving and supportive, and he was just a joyful individual,” he said.
Bryce Rogers said his father loved to talk and listen.
“He had a lot of stuff to say, but also cared to hear what was going on in your life,” the younger man said.
Bryce Rogers recalled early morning fishing trips with his father, when they would leave by 5 a.m. to get out before sunrise.
He said he realized when he got older that he didn’t know if his father slept at all before those trips because he was so excited.
Bryce Rogers recalled one time when they were barely able to squeeze in a fishing trip at Lake Mead on a weekend after his morning swim meet.
For his seventh grade Earth science class, there was a big project that called for collecting different types of rocks. Bryce Rogers said his father let him roam around in the hills to find rocks after they went fishing.
That small kernel of an experience grew into a love for geology and Earth sciences, the younger man said. Now, he’s in his final year at the University of Nevada, Reno, finishing a geological engineering degree.
Evan Rogers, who is out of the country, said in a written message that his father was loving and supportive.
“I’m thankful that he inspired so much curiosity about the world in me,” the son wrote. “He taught me so much.”
He said that at work, his father “exhibited this tenacious curiosity in his willingness to adapt to new forms of media.”
“This was a guy who started his career on a typewriter and ended it on a smartphone,” he said.
Friend Kurt Ouchida called Keith Rogers a “solid citizen.” He said it was wonderful to get pointers from him about raising his children, and he was always a confidant in that way.
He said they also shared a mutual love of sports.
Ouchida said one thing he admired about his friend was his journalistic trait of always asking “question on top of question” to arrive at the matter at hand.
‘Great gusto and generosity’
Review-Journal page designer Mark Antonuccio said he worked with Keith Rogers for many years. Antonuccio described him as genuine and someone who spoke from the heart.
“Probably the characteristic I remember most about Keith is that he was really enthusiastic about whatever he was reporting on,” Antonuccio said in an email. “That enthusiasm could be contagious.”
He said he got the sense that his colleague didn’t do things halfway.
Keith Rogers had that same enthusiasm for things that excited him in life, Antonuccio said, including fishing, frisbee golf, politics, Vietnam and his family.
Antonuccio recalled going fishing once when all they caught was a flat tire on a freeway entrance ramp.
Health reporter Mary Hynes knew Keith Rogers for more than 30 years. They were reporters in the 1990s, and Keith Rogers worked for Hynes when she was city editor in the 2000s.
“Keith approached life with great gusto and generosity,” Hynes said. “If you showed any interest in fishing, he’d give you a copy of his book and take you to a favorite cove. If you were moving that weekend, he and his wife, Marian, would show up to help. A Vietnam War era veteran himself, he was always interested in helping other veterans and writing about their plight.”
He also coached hurdlers for a number of years at Faith Lutheran Middle School and High School.
And he held an annual Indy 500 barbecue for friends, Hynes said. He was born in Cincinnati, but grew up in Danville, Indiana.
Politics and government editor Steve Sebelius, who arrived at the Review-Journal in 1999, said Keith Rogers was one of the “old-school” reporters who had been at the newspaper a long time.
“Keith was an expert on military matters, owing to his own service,” Sebelius said via email, noting he did a good job fact-checking people’s military claims and service records.
He said Keith Rogers was also among a handful of reporters to dig deep into the Yucca Mountain story and was an in-house expert on the topic.
Sebelius said, though, what really stood out to him about the reporter was “his adaptability to new media.”
“He was older than me, but he took to the idea of print reporters working in video like no one I’ve ever seen,” he said. “And he was great at it. I remember marveling in more than one meeting as Keith’s videos were shown as examples of how to do it.”
Photographer Kevin Cannon, who started at the Review-Journal in 1999, worked for years with Keith Rogers and said his former colleague had “endless energy” for journalism.
Also, “Keith was the ultimate team player,” Cannon said, noting that he put much time and effort into the visuals to go along with his stories.
Keith Rogers once spent days researching to help find the best place to take photos of a supermoon, Cannon said, and they drove out to Lake Mead to scout locations.
Cannon recalled a few stories that he and Keith Rogers worked on, including one about military helicopters that landed at the tiny Goldfield airport and a weeklong trip across the country for a big story about the Yucca Mountain project.
Cannon’s birthday was during the Yucca Mountain trip. He said he didn’t care about it, but his colleague did. They happened to be near the town where Keith Rogers’ mother lived, and a huge celebration was held at her house.
One of last draftees
Keith Rogers was among the last 10,000 people to be drafted for the Vietnam War. At the time, he was an athlete and studying engineering at Michigan State University.
In a Sept. 20 post on Facebook, he wrote that the date marked 50 years since he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1972, and he was honorably discharged two years later.
He served in the 561st Military Police Detachment, Fort McNair, Military District of Washington, according to the website for his 2020 book, “Last Draftees.”
Keith Rogers was among four authors of “Last Draftees,” and it was their opposition to the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service’s final report, which recommended Selective Service registration should be extended to women.
The authors wanted to see the draft abolished.
“We represent the last draftees,” Keith Rogers told the Review-Journal in 2020. “There hasn’t been a draft since us. And these things that we experienced affected us, to the point where it’s time for us — since we’re the last of them — to make a statement and end this thing for everybody and make it fair for everybody.”
After the war, he received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from California State University, Hayward — now called California State University, East Bay.
He spent 1977 to 1990 as a science writer at The Valley Times in Pleasanton, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. That included covering the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Keith Rogers also covered general assignment stories and wrote a weekly column, “Fish Tales,” for a chain of East Bay newspapers.
The column became the basis for his 1987 book, “Freshwater Fishing — The Secrets of Successful Angling.” He also co-authored a 2021 book, “Outlaw League.”
Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at [email protected] or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.