Doug Rogers, a metals teacher at Evergreen High School for 25 years, died at his home Tuesday.
The death was unexpected and due to natural causes, according to an Evergreen Public Schools spokesman.
Rogers, 60, who had taught at the school since 1988, was known for his tongue-in-cheek humor and referred to himself as “the old curmudgeon,” said Lisa Emmerich, the school’s principal for the past four years.
“Doug had playful, humorous banter with everyone on staff,” Emmerich said. “You felt that he was personally interested in you and cared about you, always with humor and lightheartedness.”
He was “most passionate about teaching welding and metal sculpture classes,” Emmerich said.
Emmerich said Rogers built student leaders by having the advanced students help beginners.
Rogers was an artist who created yard art and Christmas ornaments for many staff members.
“His gift just appeared on your desk one day,” she said. “He was working on a piece of yard art for a staff member who is starting a bee colony, and it’s in the shop right now.”
In the school shop, Emmerich discovered another of Rogers’ projects: metal chimes that are three to four feet tall. Students and staff are planning to finish the chimes. Next fall, the chimes will be installed in the school’s courtyard in Rogers’ memory.
“He was one of the best teachers at caring for his students,” said Mike McDonald, a social studies teacher who worked with Rogers for 25 years. “Often these students would have many problems … family, economic, educational. Doug would take them under his wing and bring them along all the way through until graduation. He cared deeply on making sure that these students, most unlikely to be college bound, strive to be competent and functioning adults in our community.
“He was one of the funniest teachers I have known. He will be missed by all who were fortunate to know him.”
Grief counselors from the SMART team were at Evergreen High School on Wednesday assisting both students and staff. The school staff learned of Rogers’ death on Tuesday after school. Students were informed Wednesday morning.
The family is planning a memorial, but has not released details yet.
A substitute teacher will cover Rogers’ classes through the last day of school on June 18.
More information is available on Evergreen High School’s Facebook page.
Susan Parrish: 360-735-4515; http://twitter.com/Col_Schools; firstname.lastname@example.org
This story will be updated.