Dennis Rogers, who spoke the language of Eastern North Carolina to the hearts of its people as a writer for The News & Observer for more than three decades, died early Saturday after a lengthy illness.
Rogers, 77, was a beloved columnist and committed newspaperman, but was also known as an actor devoted to the craft of local theater and an enthusiastic biker whose first ride was a Harley he bought at age 40.
“I think he was just the essence of North Carolina,” said former Gov. Jim Hunt who, when reached by phone Saturday, recalled opening the paper edition of the N&O and going straight to Rogers’ column. “He knew the old North Carolina, the rural North Carolina, but then lived in our emerging great capital, and yet he spoke for the plain people, the little people. He talked about life and what we ought to be doing.”