Our island home lost a beloved family member, treasured friend, and caring advocate when Michael Roger succumbed to lymphoma on Thursday evening, October 20, 2011. He was in the care of Hospice House in Bellingham, where family and friends were close by his side during his brief stay.
Michael spent his professional career defending the rights of employees as a labor attorney in his firm of Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld in Alameda, California. He and his wife Gail purchased their house in Roche Harbor in 2001 and became fulltime residents in their new chosen home when Michael retired in 2005. But professional retirement did not slow Michael down, as he continued his advocacy role in many volunteer activities and elected office.
As Hospital District Board Commissioner, Michael worked tirelessly with San Juan Island EMS and the Inter Island Medical Center to ensure the strength and viability of ongoing operations at both facilities.
As member of the San Juan Community Hospital Committee and the PIMC Steering Committee, Michael helped guide the process of forging a partnership with PeaceHealth to bring a critical access hospital to our island community.
As Chair of the County's Citizens Salary Commission, Michael worked to ensure equitable remuneration for elected officials of San Juan County.
As Treasurer of the Inter Island Healthcare Foundation, Michael helped to oversee fundraising efforts for Inter Island Medical Center and San Juan Island EMS.
As Treasurer of the Board of Homes for Islanders, Michael worked to provide housing and housing assistance to island residents in need. He also served as Treasurer of the Roche Harbor Road Association.
But even more important.....
As a friend, Michael provoked stimulating and challenging exchanges, provided welcomed counsel, reveled in watching dogs at play (Maddy and all her friends), and loved sharing good stories and laughter over a plate of good food and a glass of good wine.
As a father and grandfather, Michael created cherished memories for his family, whether through travels to destinations from Hawaii to New York, or amazing restaurant dining experiences, or just doing battle over a mean game of poker or a board game.
As a husband, Michael shared a life with Gail that was filled with shared family times, varied interests, travel adventures, warm companionship, deep love and great joy.
Michael will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched.
Special memories of Michael can be shared at a gathering of friends, neighbors, and family from 5 to 7 p.m. pm, Wednesday, November 2 at Duck Soup Inn on Roche Harbor Road.
Commemorative gifts can be directed to the San Juan Island Community Foundation (PO Box 1352), noting that the gift is in support of Peace Island Medical Center -- or to Homes for Islanders (PO Box 545).