MANTON — Larry Rogers wanted to make sure everybody had what they needed.
Rogers, 80, of Cedar Creek Township, died in October. He was a longtime public servant, serving on several local government boards and was the former owner of Manton Tire.
Everyone else could see his heart of gold, his wife of 14 years, Sheila Rogers, told the Cadillac News.
“It was a constant, whether you were his wife or an employee or somebody that came in, in need of something,‘ Rogers said. “He was constantly giving.‘
Rogers was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer 2.5 years ago, his wife said. His diagnosis came just after a friend had also died of cancer.
“He saw a big strong guy go down fast and decided he would possibly live longer and certainly not be as miserable when he did go,‘ Rogers explained of her husband’s decision not to seek treatment.
The oncologist gave him four months, but Rogers figures their grandkids — eight grandchildren between the two of them — kept him alive nearly five times longer than expected.
“There’s no doubt about it. Him and I both lived for the grandkids,‘ Rogers said. “Any sporting event, we were there.‘
That was true even in Rogers’s last month alive, according to Jessica Helsel, who is married to Larry Rogers’s stepson. She said he attended her oldest son’s Homecoming game.
“He didn’t miss anything if he didn’t have to,‘ Helsel said.
The love between grandparent and grandchildren was mutual.
“He was a great guy. My kids thought a lot of him as a grandpa,‘ Helsel said.
Rogers was the Cedar Creek Township supervisor when he died. Fellow board members, who have served with him during a tumultuous time, also described him as a giving person.
Even before he became township supervisor, he tried to help people, recalled Jeannie Schnitker, a trustee on the board. She recalled how, when he ran Manton Tire, “he would charge practically nothing.‘
“He was just such a helpful, caring man,“ Schnitker said. “He wanted to do the best for the community. He wanted to be fair to everyone.‘
Schnitker said he always made time for fellow board members.
Even in his last days, when he was so sick, “He was always there when he could be, always took our phone calls,‘ she said.
He was sometimes frustrated by local government.
“He knew how government works, how it’s kind of slow when you want to get something done,‘ Schnitker said.
Mary Hallett, Cedar Creek Township treasurer, said she would remember Rogers as a good supervisor who was kind and listened well.
“He could take a lot of heat and grief and follow through with what he thought was the best for people,‘ Hallett said. “He was easy to work with. He was a listener.‘
Helsel put it this way: “(He was a) ‘do anything for anybody’ type-of-person.‘