Joanne Rogers, widow of Fred Rogers, has died at the age of 92.
The two met while attending Rollins College in Florida. They moved to Pittsburgh in 1953 when Fred joined WQED. Years later, he would develop the children’s television show Mister Rogers Neighborhood, which ran for 33 years.
Fred Rogers died of stomach cancer in February of 2003 when he was 74-years-old.
Following Fred’s death, Joanne Rogers continued to honor his legacy in Pittsburgh and around the world.
In 2019, Mrs. Rogers celebrated the highly anticipated movie, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” that was based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod, the author of the famous article, “Can You Say...Hero?”
She was a classically-trained pianist who performed professionally nationwide and recorded two albums. Joanne taught at Chatham College’s Preparatory School, as well as several years at Carlow College in the 1970s.
We last heard from Joanne Rogers in October, when then Democratic-presidential candidate Joe Biden FaceTimed with her during a train stop in Latrobe.
Rogers leaves behind two sons, a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.
Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto released the following statement:
“Through her grace, humor and down-to-earth demeanor Joanne Rogers personified what we love about the City of Pittsburgh. As the partner of Fred Rogers for a half-century she helped champion his good works to a global audience, and remained committed to his vision and to this city after his passing.
She was always there when we needed her. I and countless others, from every walk of life, were humbled to call her a friend.”