Erna Ingram Higgins Rogers

Published 2:09 pm Thursday, October 22, 2015

FRANKLIN — Erna Ingram Higgins Rogers of Franklin, Virginia, and formerly of Bluefield, West Virginia, and Waverly, Virginia, passed away in Franklin on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015.

Erna Ingram Higgins Rogers

Erna Ingram Higgins Rogers

Erna was born at home in Dendron, Virginia, on Jan. 12, 1924, to the late Cecil Virginia Faison Ingram and the late Herbert Ingram. She was predeceased by her first husband, Capt. William Augustus Higgins of Waverly, Virginia, who was killed in action in Korea in January 1953, and then by her husband of 50 years, Dr. Richard Ovid Rogers Jr. of Bluefield and Franklin, in November 2008. She was also predeceased by her brothers, John Claudius Ingram and Calvin Faison Ingram; and a sister, Armistead May Ingram Slade.

Erna is survived by her four children, William Augustus Higgins Jr. and his wife, Sheri, of Charlotte, North Carolina; Pamela Higgins Stone and her husband, Pierce, of Louisa, Virginia; Richard Ovid Rogers III and his wife, Karen, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Michael Ingram Rogers and his wife, Theresa, of Pinehurst, North Carolina. She is also survived by her nine grandchildren, William Augustus Higgins III, Sean Michael Higgins, Shannon Elizabeth Higgins, Heather Grace Higgins, Catherine Stone Meza, Meredith Stone Davis, Dr. Morgan Rogers Godin, Richard O. Rogers IV and Grayson Marie Rogers; and nine great-grandchildren: Isabelle, Vivian, Griffin and Abigail Higgins, Aida Wheat, Rylan, Pierce and Hudson Meza and William Davis.

She is also survived by her sisters, Arlene Ingram Taylor of Dendron, and Norma Ingram Poling of Denver, Colorado; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to her first priority of raising her family and always providing a supportive, loving home life while living in Waverly, she was a Girl Scout leader and treasurer and taught Sunday school and sang in the choir of Waverly Methodist Church.

After moving to Bluefield, she served in a variety of church offices at Christ Episcopal Church including guild chairman, United Thank Offering, and publicity chairman. She was the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors for United Way for the City of Bluefield, serving two 4-year terms.

She was president of Mercer County, West Virginia Medical Auxiliary and was active at the state level, serving as chairman of the American Medical Association Education Research Foundation, and serving on the medical legislative committee of the West Virginia Medical Society.

Erna was chairman of a conservation project for the Bluefield Garden Club that was the first club in West Virginia to establish a bluebird trail to provide nesting places. She continued her gardening interest in Franklin as a member of the Garden Club of Virginia, and enjoyed being a hostess often during Garden Week.

She received her private pilot license in 1972 while still living in Bluefield, and was a proud member of the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots. After moving to Franklin, she was a member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church.

She was an avid duplicate bridge player and played partner with her husband, Dr. Richard Rogers, for many years in Franklin and at the Outer Banks. She went “to the beach” at Nags Head all her life and one of her greatest joys was to stay at her cottage “Weathering” at Duck for much of the last 35 years.

Erna’s children wish to thank their mother’s caregivers who worked tirelessly and lovingly to provide comfort and happiness to her: Mable Johnson, Ruby Mundine, Tracy Barnes, Valerie Riddick, Stephaine Johnson, Tonya Hunter, Shirley Reid (recently retired) and others along the way on this five-year journey, especially Glenn Taylor and Gayle Johnson. Special thanks also to the physical therapy staff at The Village at Woods Edge, especially Laura Lass, Lisa Rhodes and Pat Meinen, her last dance partner.

The funeral service to celebrate Erna’s life will be held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Franklin on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Edmund Pickup officiating.

The reception will be at the Village at Woods Edge following the service. Burial to follow the reception at Waverly Memorial Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 400 N. High St., Franklin, VA 23851, or Cure PSP, 30 East Padonia Road, Suite 201, Timonium, MD 21093 (

Wright Funeral Home has charge of arrangements.