Obituary: Roger Rosenquist, 85

by beth on December 12, 2018

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Roger B. Rosenquist, a 50 year resident of Southborough, MA loved his family, focused his life on hard work and was an honest and dedicated husband, father, grandfather and friend. Roger passed away on December 8, 2018.

He was the son of the late Arthur and Leona Rosenquist of Omaha, Nebraska. He is survived by his devoted wife of 54 years, Frances (Works) Rosenquist of Southborough MA; son David Rosenquist (Bambi) of Wrentham, MA; and daughter Catherine Bergh (Chris) of Lexington MA. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Max and Anna Rosenquist, and Emma and Jasper Bergh. He was affectionately known to his grandchildren as Bubba and leaves behind many other beloved family members. He belonged to Pilgrim Congregational Church in Southborough and will be greatly missed by his friends and long-time neighbors.

Roger was born in 1933 in Omaha, Nebraska. His paternal grandparents were immigrants from Ystad, Sweden. From his father he learned to work with his hands as a mechanic and carpenter. With pride he told stories of the jobs he held in his youth such as bicycling the largest newspaper route in the city to deliver the Omaha World Herald. He impeccably renovated a 1930 Model A Ford while in high school and worked several years as an auto mechanic. Since childhood Roger had a deep love for trains. Standing with his father from the 10th Street viaduct in Omaha, he used to watch the trains coming and going from the Union Pacific and Burlington stations. Later in life he created a basement room dedicated to an HO model scale railroad, at one point almost taking over the room with the layout, model buildings, steam and diesel engines. 

After studying at the University of Nebraska, Roger joined the United States Army in 1953. A high score on an exam led to artillery and missile training at Fort Bliss, Texas. Later at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington State he was a technician for radar artillery systems. Upon discharge from the Army in 1955 he was given the rank of Corporal and awarded a National Defense Service Medal. Soon after, he began his career as an Electronic Engineer with Raytheon in Waltham, then later in the San Francisco Bay Area with Lockheed Martin and Beckman Instruments. While working full time he earned his B.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering from Fitchburg State College. He eventually worked most of his career at Raytheon in the Metro West area.

During his bachelor days living in Northern California Roger developed a love for expensive toys such as his black Pontiac Grand Prix and a wooden inboard boat that he enjoyed in the San Francisco Bay. After a move to Massachusetts to work with Raytheon, he met Frannie Works on a blind date. Even though he was transferred to California, they kept in touch. At the beginning of a two week vacation to visit Frannie in Massachusetts, he proposed and they were married on May 24, 1964 in Marlborough. They began their new life in Mountain View, California from 1964-1968 during which time David and Catherine were born.

After a move to Southborough in 1968, Roger shared his love of boating and the outdoors with his family during vacations on Lake Winnipesaukee and later on camping excursions. He loved classic movies like Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon and would say his favorite dinner was mashed potatoes with meatloaf washed down with milk. Rogers favorite mealtime line was that he always had a little corner left for dessert. His children and grandchildren knew that if they wanted a cookie or ice cream, Bubba was the one to ask as he always enjoyed something sweet. Roger enjoyed many family road trips to Nebraska, Wyoming, California and more.

In the summer of 1975 he took an extended leave from Raytheon and brought his family on a cross country camping trip to California to see National Parks, the Pacific Ocean and Disneyland. With his family he enjoyed Otter River State Park and climbing Mt. Monadnock. Roger was a dedicated member of Pilgrim Church and was instrumental in rejuvenating the church sanctuary. During the 1980s and 1990s he continued to work at Raytheon as a Test Engineer and was involved in the Aegis and Patriot Missile systems.

After 25 years at Raytheon, Roger retired at the age of 57. He was thrilled with his early retirement as that gave him more time for projects, hobbies and travel. In his basement Roger had a full carpentry shop where he created cabinets and tables. Researching, planning and building anything for the home gave Roger great joy. Machines and the way they worked fascinated him. He loved to tinker on computers and cars. Friends and neighbors would say that Roger was their go to guy for advice on cars or house projects. He valued helping his family, friends and neighbors and showing them respect and kindness. He enjoyed conversations about current events, investments and the Red Sox.

As a young boy and then adult Roger was an avid keyboard player on both the piano and Wurlitzer organ. He played everything from church hymns to old country songs to Scott Joplins Maple Leaf Rag. In addition to an extensive sheet music and record collection, he designed and fabricated his own speaker cabinets and stereo systems. He instilled in his family the appreciation of music with a good beat and meaningful lyrics. Rogers smile, humor, intellect, and bright blue eyes will be missed by all.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday December 15th at 11:00 at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Southborough MA, with a luncheon and visiting time afterwards in the parish hall. There are no formal visiting hours. A private burial will follow in the Spring. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly asks that donations be made in Rogers memory to Pilgrim Congregational Church in Southborough MA.

(Obituary and photo via Legacy.com)

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