This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 24, 2010 12:27 AM. The previous post in this blog was Merkley takes on Bernanke. The next post in this blog is Top 'dog player crowned with final pool picks. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Her dad, the mensch

A friend of ours who's done a little blogging in her time asked us to do her a favor this weekend, and in the rush of too, too much to do, we fell down on the job. The favor was to post something she had written about her dad on his 80th birthday, which up until a few minutes ago we had registered as being today, Sunday.

Well, now we see that doh! The big day was yesterday, and we never did get her writing about her father up on this page. But having been unable to wish our own dad the best on his 80th, which he did not get to spend in this world, we know where she was coming from when she asked us to get involved. And so here's what she wrote. Even though birthday wishes would technically be a day late at this point, words like these don't really have an expiration date:

My dad, Bert Rogoway, turns 80 on Saturday, 1/23/10. I know that most people feel that their dad is the best person in the world. In my case, it’s true.

Knowing how many Portland readers you have, here’s my thought: Could you post something about my dad and ask readers to email him with a happy birthday message? He would be so delighted. I did not inherit my need for attention/praise/glory from my dad. He is a humble man.

So the bio:

As a Portland native (a rarity these days), my dad has spent his entire life in this city. He attended Portland public schools through 12th grade (graduating from Benson High School), served in the Oregon National Guard for eight years and for over forty years, worked as a small businessman at his family’s business, LaRog Jewelers, on SE 82nd and Foster.

My dad married my mom Laurie in 1965, at the Benson Hotel and quickly started a family: by 1970 he had three children, two girls and a boy.

Despite the fact that my dad was older than most of the other dads during my upbringing (he was 40 when I was born), he was ahead of his time when it came to being a husband and father. My dad worked six days a week from the day he graduated from high school until his retirement at 67, yet he was always present; never missing a soccer or football game, Girl Scout event, holiday pageant, parent-teacher conference or birthday party. He was a "modern dad" at a time when many dads weren’t. As the mother of a three-year-old daughter, I see dads in the 21st century less involved in their children's lives than my dad was in the seventies.

Dad is now a very proud grandfather to eight and when he’s not busy volunteering, he spends much of his time doing activities with his grandchildren (and being the resident chauffeur to and from school, activities and outings.) He’s also an active volunteer at Abernathy Elementary in SE Portland where two of his grandchildren attend.

Which brings me to the reason why I think my dad is especially deserving of a little extra recognition – what he’s been doing with his time since retiring. While many men of his generation have looked at retirement as a means to travel the world or just sit tight in their recliner, my dad has spent the past 12 years as a devoted volunteer.

For 11 years, he has spent one day a week at Doernbecher’s Children Hospital where he oversees the bingo game for the children who are staying at the hospital. A few years ago, my husband and I were fortunate enough to spend an afternoon with my dad watching him in action at Doernbecher's and we both walked away from the experience with heavy hearts telling each other that there was no way we could endure the sadness of spending week after week with such sick children. It was a heartbreaking experience to us. But for my dad, it is a gift and he loves everything about Doernbecher's and looks forward to each Wednesday where, for a few hours, he gets to bring some joy to children who really need it.

My dad has also been a S.M.A.R.T. volunteer for 12 years and for much of that time, has worked exclusively at Marysville Elementary in SE Portland; one of the poorest schools in the district. Upon learning about the recent fire at Marysville, my dad was one of the first people to go out and buy new school supplies and backpacks for the kids. As a S.M.A.R.T. volunteer, dad works individually with kids who are having challenges with reading fundamentals. These are some of the most at-risk kids in our city and dad patiently spends individual time with them letting them work on their reading skills. Again, something that would be so difficult to do for many and something that brings such joy to my dad.

Dad’s also been a Meals on Wheels and Hospital volunteer and has devoted much time over his entire adult life volunteering in the Jewish community. It is not unusual to find my dad spending a weekday taking an elderly widowed friend to lunch or visiting with someone who is having a hard time living in a senior residence.

In the words of the fabulous, divine Ms. Tina Turner, my dad is simply the best; better than all the rest; better than anyone; anyone I’ve ever met.

We don't have Bert's e-mail address, but if folks leave him a note in the comments to this post, we're sure that somehow his daughter will see that he gets it -- when he gets home from his volunteer gigs. He sounds like quite a guy.

Comments (15)

Happy Birthday, Bert. And thank you for modeling what being a father, husband, and grandpa is all about. Portland is a better place because you've been here: thank you for making a difference.

"Good citizens are the riches of a city."

That quote has always resonated with me, and Bert, your life story, told by your loving and admiring daughter, shows just how much you've contributed to us all.

Happy birthday and wishing you many more!

I don't know you Bert, but you are an inspiration to all of us who try to figure out way out through parenting and grandparenting. We have two grandchildren and we have tried to be the best we can, volunteering wherever we can to just be there for them. Same with our children. We can't ever live up to your achievements, but you give us a target at which to aim. Thank you for the inspiration you have provided.

All the best on 80th. May I live to see mine and be as much a mensch as you are.

All the best

Happy Birthday Bert!!! You certainly sound a person who everyone would want to call you their friend. I promise you, if this world had more people like you, we'd all be much happier and richer, and I don't mean with money.... may you live many, many more years. You are an inspiration.

Bert, Happy 80th Birthday! Wishing you many more happy and healthy years ahead of you! I know both of your daughters and you raised two wonderful women, a testament to your loving character and mensch-hood. Thank you for your inspirational community deeds and your shining example of being a good citizen. L'chaim, Amie

Bert, I applaud your daughter and family recognizing your soul and contributions to others. We need more of this kind of recognition which helps contribute to others, as you are doing. As a fellow life long Oregonian, I also appreciate your contributions in the other ways that your daughter doesn't mention, like occasionally speaking your mind on civic affairs that affect our city and state. Happy Birthday.

Happy birthday Bert. May your beautiful spirit of voluntarism proliferate in the world.

My dad (also 80) is a real slacker compared to this Bert.

My beloved father died in 1996. I miss him every day. Bert, I am happy for your loving daughter to still have you around to celebrate and honor. I've been singing "A fam-i-ly affair since nineteen-ten" in my head since reading Jack's post. That was LaRog's slogan, wasn't it?

Congrats on the big 8-0, Bert!!! I never knew just how much volunteering you did. It is people like you that make this world the terrific place it is. I have much respect and love for your family and know now that a lot of who they are is because of you. Too many more on channel four...

Happy Birthday!and many more!!
How did you ever have time to run a great business?

Happy Birthday, Bert. And here's to many more.

I am also a grateful daughter of a man who was also ahead of his time. My dad would have been 81 this year.

Many happy returns to the whole family.

wow! Bert is an inspiration to me and others in our community. His compassion and true authenticity is what we should all strive to behold. love it! and Happy Birthday

Writing from across the continent in Virginia to say Many Happy Returns to Bert. We can claim to be related thanks to the circuitous chain of events in which our nephew had the good sense to marry to Bert's daughter, Edie. Perhaps his admiration for Bert was the impetus for our nephew's proposal!

Bert's life of service to his community is a model after which many have aspired to follow but few have succeeded. It's obvious that Bert derives tremendous satisfaction from the time he devotes to others and Portland is lucky to have him as a devoted native son.

Bert- you REALLY are the best!
much love from jo, doug, zev and maya

Clicky Web Analytics