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Chilliwack remembers Stan Rogers

Stan Rogers speaks during the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards in 2008 where Legacy Pacific won for Development Excellence - Residential & Commercial. Rogers died last night (April 16). - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE
Stan Rogers speaks during the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards in 2008 where Legacy Pacific won for Development Excellence - Residential & Commercial. Rogers died last night (April 16).
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

Many were in shock Thursday morning to learn of the passing this week of Chilliwack entrepreneur and Legacy Pacific president Stan Rogers, 65.

On behalf of the Rogers family, son Cameron Rogers told The Progress that "they are saddened at the sudden and unexpected death of their father, Stan Rogers, on the evening of April 16.

"It is understood at this time that it was likely a massive heart attack."

He had been contemplating retirement from a long career which will not be realized.

Rogers leaves his wife Anita, sons Cameron and Collin of Chilliwack and daughter Gina from the area of Atlanta, Georgia. He had six grandchildren.

Many in the community expressed their sympathies for the loss.

"I'm thinking of his family at this time. It was a tremendous shock," said Barry Penner, a former Chilliwack MLA and BC government cabinet minister.

BC Liberal minister Rich Coleman spoke Thursday morning at the Thursday Rotary meeting and Stan Rogers, an active Rotarian, had been instrumental in getting him there, Penner said.

He has always served the community and was active in politics.

"He was passionate about public life and democracy," Penner said. "Stan could never understand someone who didn't vote."

Stan Rogers was born to Alfred and Pauline Rogers in 1948 in Armstrong B.C., the youngest of three children.

The Rogers family purchased a flour mill in 1951 which became A.J. Rogers Wholesome Foods. Twenty years later Stan Rogers took over to become president of the family business after graduating. Under his leadership, sales grew from $40,000 per year in 1971 to $15 million per year in 1989.

In 1989 Rogers Foods was sold to Nisshin Flour Milling of Japan.

He built Rogers Foods into a 100-employee export company before moving to the Fraser Valley where he went into real estate development. With residential developments in Abbotsford and business parks in Chilliwack, he "enjoyed building communities for people to live and work in," according to his son.

Rogers may be best remembered for the wholesale transformation of what was known as The Berry Lands on South Sumas at Unsworth.

In 1995, a vegetable processing plant on that spot became available. Pillsbury/Fraser Valley Foods had closed down. The site was sprawling with 160,000 sq. ft. of buildings and about 50 acres of vacant farm land.

Rogers saw a unique opportunity — to repurpose the buildings for large-scale industrial clients and eventually the Legacy Pacific Land Corporation was born. It was a new concept for Chilliwack as no large industrial space was available in the area.

"He had a clear vision for transforming that property," said Penner. "There may have been those who were skeptical, but he was certainly determined and had enormous perseverance."

Penner said he was always grateful for Rogers' consistent support and encouragement when he was in public life.

– More to come

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