A former advertising manager with the Daily Herald, who developed many of its largest accounts and mentored much of the sales staff, has died after a long battle with cancer.
John J. "Jack" Rogers, a former resident of Prospect Heights who was 73, began his nearly 20 years with the Daily Herald's advertising department in 1983, after building a career at the Chicago Tribune, Time Inc. and McCall's Magazine.
The combination of his sales ability and network of contacts in the business community made him an instant leader in the department, and after years of calling on accounts, he was named advertising manager.
Jim Salvetti, a salesman who worked with Mr. Rogers and later followed him as manager of the Cook County division, described him as an "ambassador for the Daily Herald."
"Jack cared deeply for his sales staff and wanted them all to succeed," Salvetti says. "He never hesitated to go on sales calls to help insure their success, and often accompanied them to chamber (of commerce) events."
Mr. Rogers served on the Wheeling-Prospect Heights Chamber of Commerce, including one term as its president, and on the board of the Prospect Heights Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Advertising accounts Mr. Rogers developed in the Herald included York Furriers and Carpets of Elmhurst, as well as Walter E. Smithe Furniture, and the seven locations of Plass Appliance.
Dale Plass used to attend advertising seminars at a fishing camp in Canada with Mr. Rogers. He recalls that he and the other business leaders there fondly referred to Mr. Rogers as the "Commodore" for his command not only of advertising but of boating.
"He was a great salesman," Plass says. "We went from not knowing what the Daily Herald was to being pretty consistently one of their mainstays."
When Mr. Rogers wasn't working in advertising, he was giving golf lessons.
As a member of the U.S. Golf Association and the National Golf Foundation Association, he taught golf lessons for more than 20 years on the Rob Roy Golf Course in Prospect Heights for the River Trails Park District.
Mr. Rogers taught children and adults in group and private lessons. He also could be found driving a golf cart during the district's summer Junior League, giving tips to young foursomes out on the course. "His favorite was teaching kids," says Gary Seiden, golf operations manager. "He liked getting them interested in golf."
Mr. Rogers is survived by his wife, Sharon, of 28 years; sons, John (Jacqui) Rogers of Boise, Idaho; and Dan (Tracy) Eales-Rogers of Seattle, Wash.; stepson, Cary Martin of Taylorville, Ill.; and four grandchildren.
A memorial service for Rogers, who died Monday, March 2, will take place at noon March 14 at the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights, 302 N. Dunton Ave.