Chuck Rogers

1942 ~ 2024

Obit Photo Chuck Rogers photo    Captain Charles Stanley Rogers II, age 82, was born on March 12, 1942, in Jersey City, NJ to loving parents Blanche and Charles and big sister Carol.

   Growing up in Fort Lee, the backdrop of NYC, he learned that he loved family trips to remote Roscoe, NY, more than the subway ones into Manhattan. He attended the grade school across the street, saw the Yankees games with his dad and played high school basketball at All Hallows High School in the Bronx. Further afield, he attended St. Michael’s College in Vermont where his ROTC program led him to graduate as an officer in the United States Air Force.

Obit Photo Chuck Rogers ROTC Graduation

His commission landed him in the remote border town of Laredo, TX, where he trained jet fighter pilots on the Northrop T-38 Talon.  Laredo turned out to be a prime location to further the love of hunting he learned from his uncles in upstate New York, a perfect spot to test the limits of his Corvette, to taste the exquisite combo of enchiladas and a Dr. Pepper, and a great place to make enduring friendships. 

Obit Photo Chuck Rogers F 105

  Upon an honorable discharge in 1969, he relocated to Minneapolis, MN where he pinned on a fresh set of wings at Northwest Orient Airlines. Throughout his 33-year career, mostly with NWA and later Delta, Captain Rogers piloted a variety of jet airliners to destinations across the globe - where he made smooth landings and delivered passengers safely to their vacations and back home to their loved ones.


Obit Photo Chuck Rogers giving safety time

   Not long after his arrival in Minnesota, he met and fell in love with Pauline (Polly) Smith Hilgendorf and her two young boys, Tommy (special needs from birth) and Peter. Chuck and Polly were married on April 25, 1970, and moved into their first home in Burnsville, MN, after their European honeymoon. Together he raised her boys as his own. They had their first daughter, Sara, in 1972. Daughter Rachel was born in 1975 and shortly thereafter the family moved to Apple Valley, MN, where son Charles III (“Chip”) was born in 1978. 

   Chuck’s flying schedule meant countless and excited “daddy’s home!” moments as well as extended periods of time on the ground where he coached his kids in sports, helped with homework, taught them to ski, how to catch a fish, served on their school board, and helped them chase their own passions as well as his own. Travel remained his biggest passion as well as a job perk - one he took great joy in sharing. He and Polly have dotted the globe, and he took every opportunity to fly each of his kids on 1:1 quick trips to exciting places stateside and abroad.

Obit Photo chuck and son chip

 Chuck and his son Chip

   Family trips had them in Hawaii, London, Germany, East Coast visits, beach destinations, and all points between. It was an unforgettable family ski trip to Big Sky in 1989 that sparked the first of many returns to Montana, and the joyful discovery of a lifestyle that went far beyond the slopes and into the rivers and up the mountain meadows. So unforgettable that in 1998, with just two years until retirement, the newly empty nesters packed up and moved to the quaint, charming, bustling, and promising Bozeman. They took up residence in a beautiful home with views of those very mountains, meadows, and valleys that first stole their hearts. Their home in Triple Tree Ranch was known by family, neighbors, and friends as a place of warm welcome, great food, big laughs, bridge games, fun parties, cozy beds - and free car washes for anyone who parked a car in the driveway for more than 3 hours. 

 Obit Photo Chuck Rogers cheers from chuck

   In Bozeman, Chuck made and maintained countless friendships, notably with the trapshooting, self-proclaimed “Old Farts”, and as a proud member in the local Flight 121 of the Order of Daedalians. He also forged deep connections with the priests, staff, and church goers at Resurrection University Catholic Church, as an usher and volunteering to serve meals to college students and grew close with the countless wonderful humans in Polly’s vast social network. 

   He loved his wife, kids, grandkids, a few dogs, a couple cats, his home, and his country. He was beyond generous at birthdays, Christmas, and when our gas gauges approached the dreadful ‘half-full’ mark. He loved a hearty meal followed by a bowl of ice cream. Chuck was legendary at spinning an average moment into a great big story. He loved running errands, both his own and for anyone else who needed a Costco run, a trip to the dentist, a ride from the airport, or his snowblower up their driveway.  

   In September 2021 Chuck and Polly downsized to The Springs Living in Bozeman. For Chuck, “assisted living” took on a different meaning as it became a great opportunity for him to assist others—he took every chance to escort residents back to their rooms, walk a neighbor's dog, run errands for those who couldn’t, and perform other small acts of  kindness.

   His love of travel and any sort of getaway - seemingly planning the next one before returning from the current one - continued until his last moments. On January 23 of this year, just days after returning from a quick solo trip to the warm lights and lively action he loved in Las Vegas, he suffered a severe and devastating stroke. After a few days in Bozeman Deaconess hospital, he passed peacefully and comfortably at home surrounded by his wife and kids.

   Chuck’s family and friends are beyond grateful for the time we had with him on this earth–time full of grand adventures, great jokes, countless acts of service, and mountains of love. 

   Chuck is preceded in death by father Charles Rogers (1974), mother Blanche Rogers (2010), and step-son Tommy Mark Hilgendorf (1977). 

   Chuck is survived by his wife Polly Rogers; stepson Peter Hilgendorf (son Van, daughter Sylvie); daughters, Sara Rogers (fiancé Tom Davern), and Rachel Hagenson (daughter Maddie, son Will); and son Chip Rogers (spouse Brenda Brock, daughter Cooper, son Charles IV “Charlie”). All are dedicated to carrying Papa’s generous, friendly, loyal spirit forward in their own lives. Chuck is also survived by his sister, Carol Beaugard (spouse Edouard); sister-in-law, Beth Chapdelaine; brother-in-law Jeff Miels; and countless nieces and nephews.

   A celebration of life is being planned for later in the year and will be communicated to family and all friends in the Bozeman community and beyond. In lieu of flowers we would invite donations in Chuck’s honor to the Gallatin Skyhawk Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)3 whose support helps train the next generation of aviators. Checks can be sent to: GSS Foundation, C/o Paul Routhier, 2486 Arabian Ave, Bozeman, MT 59718. 

(-The Rogers family)