Zelma Marie Rogers born September 9, 1931 in Scott, Arkansas the youngest and last survivor of four daughters to Dave and Cora Zachary. Zel “Marie” as she was affectionately called by eldest sister Ruthie Mae was baptized early and raised with bedrock Christian principles as were her sisters, nephews, and one niece who all lived under the same roof. Zelma recalled, “We used to spend all day Sunday in Church.”
The Zachary household lived near a river, where they fished, tended animals and toiled the land for the owner. Zelma preferred schoolwork to hard labor, and often would be scolded by Papa Dave, for sitting under a tree while others worked. One day while working in the field an airplane flew overhead, which prompted one nephew to ask, “wonder where that plane is going”? Zelma answered, “I don’t know, but one day I’m going to find out.”
Not much later, Zelma moved to California after an invite from her eldest sister. Soon after, the rest of the family followed. They realized that a better life could be attained working for oneself rather than working another man’s land or cooking and cleaning someone’s home for little to no wage.
The entire Zachary household settled in the Pasadena/Altadena area. Not too long after moving, Zelma met and married Marine Elmer Rogers Sr., and from their union Elmer “Rick” Rogers Jr. and Stanley Dale Rogers were born. While raising her sons, Zelma obtained a secretarial position with for LA Unified School District. Later she was elevated to an adult education teacher, where she taught business machines and life skills to students at the East LA and Pacoima skill centers.
Education was central to Zelma’s life. She performed well in school, and amongst her favorite memories were when teachers said, “Zachary come on up to the board to and show the class on how to solve this problem.” She attended Philander Smith College, before relocating to California, and decades later received her Bachelor’s at University of Redlands. Cooking and eating was equally important as education to Zelma. She loved feeding family and friends multi-course dinners and lavish meals.
Zelma’s sharp-tongue and blunt communication style was contrasted by her generous, loving and hospitable nature. She opened her home for weeks/months at a time for folks to stay. Although her words weren’t always appreciated there was often the ulterior motive to inspire others to positive action. She propelled students to find fulfilling careers and invigorated friends, family and anyone who would listen to pursue their dreams.
The matriarch of the Rogers family was preceded in death by former husband, Elmer Rogers Sr.; sisters Golena Zachary Foster, Ruthie Mae Zachary Elliot, Edna Zachary Smith; brother Louis Zachary; nephews Harold Bell, Ben Terry, Floyd Foster, and niece Pearline McGruder. Zelma leaves behind to cherish her memory, sons Elmer “Rick” Rogers Jr. and Stanley Dale Rogers; granddaughters Chaylone Bridges, Reanne Rogers Adkison; grandsons Jordan Rogers, Joshua Rogers; great-granddaughters Vaylee Adkison, Ryah Adkison; one great-grandson Gregory Jerome Graham Jr. and a host of relatives and friends.