Dr. Alexander Greenleaf Rogerson, a longtime Berkeley pediatrician, died peacefully in Walnut Creek, California on Aug. 24, after a brief illness. He was 99 years old.
Born in 1922 in Milton, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Milton Rogerson and Helen Campbell Rogerson, Alex attended Milton Academy, Harvard University, and Harvard Medical School. He then did an internship at Boston Children’s Hospital, a residency in pediatrics at Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY, and a Chief Residency at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital.
He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1943-1946 and again in 1950-53, rising to the rank of Captain. He then joined the Berkeley Pediatric Medical Group, where he practiced until his retirement. While in practice, he was an associate clinical professor at the UCSF and spent 50 years teaching and attending at Oakland Children’s Hospital. He was known as a very skillful diagnostician. After retirement he worked periodically as a contract physician with the U.S. Public Health Service at Kayenta, Navajo Nation.
Alex was a serious athlete. In his younger years, he wrestled, boxed, and pole-vaulted. In California he took up competitive running, sailing, tennis, skiing, and rowing. He ran more than one marathon and was running more than seven miles a day when he was 75. He then began rowing a single scull, winning many races until his early 80s. Alex then switched to indoor rowing on the “Erg,” which he concluded was the most efficient form of exercise. At the age of 95 he set the U.S. record for 2,000-meters in men’s indoor rowing in the 95-99 age bracket.
A dedicated outdoorsman, he was a skilled fly fisher, enjoyed backpacking and camping, and introduced his children and grandchildren to the joys of the outdoors. He studied astronomy and built telescopes, and pursued photography and videography, until, recognizing one of his few limitations, he wisely deposited his camcorder in Donner Lake. He loved Tom Lehrer, limericks, odd jokes, silly sayings, and raising begonias, orchids, and bonsai.
In 1945 Alex married Anne Brooks Lindsay of Brookline, Massachusetts. They had two children, Charles and Lindsay, and settled in Piedmont, California. Anne died in 1953.
Alex then married Patricia McConaha Hayward, of Orinda, California, adding three children to the Rogerson family: Janice, Mark and John. They were great lovers of books and the mountains, and spent a great deal of time at Donner Lake. They enjoyed 49 happy years together, until Patsy’s death in 2002.
In 2007, Alex married Britta Mackey, of Rossmoor. They enjoyed traveling and together explored many places around the world. Alex and Britta were devoted to each other and she was with him at the end.
He is survived by his wife, Britta, his children, Charles (Sharon Sagan), Janice, Lindsay (Zada Jan), Mark (Jan), and John, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at 10 am Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, at Christ Episcopal Church, 1700 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Truckee Donner Land Trust.