QUEENSBURY — Bernard Charles William Rogge, 83, passed away Thursday, May 1, 2014 at his home surrounded by his loving family. The cause of death was lung cancer.
Bernard was born in Freeport, New York, on August 28, 1930. He was the only child of the late Henry and Wanda Rogge, German immigrants who ran the butcher shop, Henry’s Meat Market, and deli, Wanda’s Sandwich Shop, in Freeport.
Upon his graduation from Carson Long Military Academy, where, among many extracurricular activities, he co-captained the 1949 championship basketball team, Bernard worked as a bellhop in a Miami hotel during the winters. At 21, he was to be drafted into the United States Army as part of the war effort in Korea. Instead of awaiting his number to be called, Bernard returned home to volunteer for duty. He was stationed in the quaint German town of Wachenheim for seventeen months. There, the army sent Bernard to cook school where he would learn the skills useful for a future in the motel and restaurant business.
After completing his military service, Bernard worked briefly in New Jersey for the Coca Cola Bottling Company before moving to Glens Falls. At 28, he purchased the Imperial Motel from William Schultze and turned the business into a year-round entity.
Three winters later, Bernard opened the restaurant, which sat 200 people. Bernard described himself as a poor bartender who could make a good cocktail. In terms of entertainment, the Imperial was the place be. To help fill the bar, Bernard hired the organist Rolly Stanton. When Stanton was on the keys, the bar was full and Bernard was in the kitchen, preparing meals for his guests, something he would enjoy doing throughout his life for family and friends. In 1971, he opened the mobile home community Lamplighter Acres in the Town of Moreau, which he would own and operate until his death.
Two weeks before he passed, at his home in Florida, Bernard recalled falling in love, running multiple businesses as a true entrepreneur, wishing he spent more time with his children and grandchildren, traveling the world, the enjoyment and frustration of golfing great courses, his uncanny eye and love for gardening and landscaping, drinking, and dining on great food. Reflecting from the comfort of his chair, he sat back, smiled, and said, “Huh. I’ve had a pretty weird life.” Until the very end, his dry wit and good-natured humor were present.
Bernard is predeceased by his parents and daughter, Diane. He is survived and will be remembered fondly by his loving wife, Beverly and family, his three children; son Richard and his wife Teri-Jo; son David and his wife Marianne; and daughter Charlene and her husband Greg, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and countless friends in New York and Florida. —Mike Rogge
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m., Monday, May 5, at Maynard D. Baker Funeral Home, 11 Lafayette St., Queensbury, with the Rev. Lamont Robinson officiating.
Calling hours will follow from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 5, at the funeral home. The B.P.O.E. Lodge No. 81 will perform the Lodge of Sorrow at 6 p.m.
Condolences may be mailed to Maynard D. Baker Funeral Home, 11 Lafayette St., Queensbury, NY 12804, or e-mailed through www.bakerfuneralhome.com.