James Kemmler (Kem) Rogers, 75, grandson of Will Rogers, died Wednesday, June 11, 2014 in Bakersfield, Calif. He had been in failing health since a traffic accident near his Tennessee residence in 2012. He moved to California to live near his family.
The son of James Blake Rogers and Marguerite Astrea Kemmler Rogers, he was born May 3, 1939 in Los Angeles, the first grandchild of Will and Betty Blake Rogers. His grandfather died in 1935; his grandmother died when he was just five-years-old. Astrea Rogers died in 1987, Jim Rogers in 2000. Their cremains are interred in the family tomb on the Claremore Will Rogers Memorial Museum grounds.
Kem Rogers represented the Rogers family on the Will Rogers Memorial Commission from the time of his father’s death in 2000 until mid 2013, when he stepped down and his daughter, Jennifer Etcheverry, was appointed to take his place.
The eldest of three children, after his birth Kem was taken home from the hospital to the Jesus Maria Ranch, confiscated during the war for Camp Cook, now a prison for white-collar criminals.
He attended elementary school at Caliente, Calif., near the family’s Bakersfield-Caliente ranch in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the eighth grade, he was enrolled in Webb, a Claremont, Calif., a preparatory boarding school.
Rogers attended Cal Poly and graduated from Bakersfield Junior College with a major in agriculture-business. He spent most of his life working in the cattle feeding business in Nebraska, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. He retired after a career as a partner in Agri-Tech, one of the country’s largest cattle feeding companies.
He pioneered introduction of Holstein dairy cattle into the beef feeding industry and was instrumental in the use of ultrasound technology to determine the performance potential of cattle.
After retirement, he made his home in Lynnville, Tenn., near Nashville, where he kept a string of polo ponies and returned to the sport of his teen years, one he shared with his grandfather, father and brother.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, he was stationed in Fort Smith, Ark., and spent his weekends with Rogers County relatives.
Rogers was married in October 1963 to Nancy Schneider, daughter of a California rancher and rodeo cowboy. Now divorced, they were parents of two children.
Daughter Jennifer and husband, Mark Etcheverry, and their children, Meeghan and Mason, live in Bakersfield; son, James Schnieder Rogers and wife, Nana, and their son, Luke, live in San Diego. Also surviving is his brother, Charles Edward (Chuck) of New Mexico, and sister, Astrea Elizabeth (Bette) Brandin of Piedra, Calif.
For information regarding Kem Rogers and arrangements, visit http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kemrogers.