his Life

Julius Henry Rogers - "Bo"

Julius Henry Rogers was born February 14, 1934, in Wills Point, to the late Cleveland and Octavia Dunn Rogers. He was raised in Wills Point and attended Cartwright School. In 1961, he married Janis Johnson and to this union were four children. Bo was a lifelong resident of Wills Point. He worked at the Wills Point Chronicle for more than forty years, before becoming ill. He also worked part time at the American National Bank in Wills Point. He was a long time member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Wills Point.

He is preceded in death by his sister, Ima Lyles, and brother, Johnny B. “J.B.” Rogers.

Bo is survived by the mother of his children, Janis Rogers of Wills Point; children, Shannon McClelland of Edgewood, Clevelon Rogers, and wife Colita of Elmo, Bevaughn Rogers and wife, Tera of Wills Point, and Randa Rogers of Wills Point; sisters, Shirley McKinney of California, Maxine Wynne of California, Evelyn Sanders of Wills Point, Virginia Stafford of Dallas, Edith Rogers Shaw and husband, Jack of Wills Point; brothers, Oscar Rogers of Wills Point, Johnny R. Rogers of Wills Point, and Otis Tucker and wife, Sharon of Dallas; long time companion, Shirley Holland of Terrell and her children, Howard Holland of Terrell and Beaunka (Shon) Holland of Garland; grandchildren, Tiffany McClelland, Marya Bradley and husband, Jerrel, Kevin McClelland, Brittany McClelland, Ja’Michael Palmer and wife, Rachelle, C.J. Rogers, Ja’Macia Rogers, Yvonne Rogers,B.J. Rogers, Quinshan Rogers, Shaquilla Rogers, Tamia Rogers, Bryon Rogers, Sherrain Rogers, Exxavier McCoy, Quincey Battles, Lewis Battles, Venicia Battles and Zennovya Battles; seven great-grandchildren; and many other relatives and friends.

Former Newspaper Press Former Newspaper Press

Julius Rogers, the man who kept the presses running and printing newspapers in Wills Point for 43 years, died Friday morning at his home.
Rogers was hired in 1967 for a press department position with Campbell-McNeill Publishing and he continued — eventually becoming press foreman — through the company’s transition into Van Zandt Newspapers, LLC, in 1996. Rogers retired last August.
Visitation has been set for 6-8 p.m. Friday at Hiett’s LyBrand Funeral Home in Wills Point. Services will take place Saturday at 11 a.m. at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Edgewood with interment following at Edgefield Cemetery.
Rogers was 77 years old and a lifelong resident of Wills Point.
Employees of Van Zandt Newspapers who had worked with Rogers for many years commented on his dedication to his work and kind, gentle personality.
“He worked whether he was sick or well,” said former publisher and current advertising representative Glenn McNeill. “No one knew when he felt bad. He was very dependable and conscientious about his work.”
“Julius was one of the most dedicated and nicest persons I have ever worked with,” said John Buzzetta, president of Van Zandt Newspapers, LLC. “I remember when Glenn and Betsy McNeill sold the papers in 1996, they told me that Julius would probably retire in a year or two and that I might need to look for another press operator.
“He continued working for another 14 years,” Buzzetta said. “He was very focused and talented.”
“Julius was someone we could all learn from,” Van Zandt Newspapers General Manager Kelli Baxter said. “He loved his job at the newspaper, he treated everyone with respect and his work ethic was such that he would have to be urged just to take a day off.”
Oscar Rogers, Julius’ brother and current Wills Point City Council member, was a commercial printer working at Campbell-McNeill Publishing and was instrumental in bringing Julius into the company.
“My brother was working in construction, usually working three months or six months out of the year. The company was needing someone, and I felt like Julius could do the work,” Oscar said.
Julius, though, was not convinced it would be the right career move, Oscar recalled.
“I said, ‘I tell you what, you come up there and try it, and if you don’t make as much or even twice as much, I will make it up for you.’ I finally talked him into doing it.”
Having spent his own career in commercial printing, Oscar Rogers added, “I tell everybody I taught him everything he knew until the newspaper got into this offset printing.”
“Julius was a favorite among the workers at the (Wills Point) Chronicle because he was a hard worker and easy to get along with,” McNeill said.
Oscar Rogers left Campbell-McNeill Publishing in 1979, but Julius continued, adapting to massive changes in the newspaper publishing industry through more than four decades.
“Campbell-McNeill Publishing bought the five-unit newspaper press in December 1980. Julius and I operated the press together for the first year so that we could both learn how to run it,” McNeill said.
“After the first year, Julius ran the press alone while I was away from the office selling advertising. He could run the more difficult four-color as well as black and white,” he added.
“Julius saw the transition from using a large commercial printing press for the newspaper, to using a small newspaper press, and then to the larger five-unit press that is in use today,” McNeill continued. “He saw the typesetting go from handset, Linotype and Verityper paste-up, to completely computerized today.”
Betsy McNeill, co-publisher for Campbell-McNeill Publishing, recalled the time Julius was hired in a funny story as she and Glenn were traveling to Washington, D.C. for a month alongside then-Congressman Ray Roberts.
“When Julius came to the company, daddy (Thomas Campbell) and Glenn had hired him, but I had not had a chance to meet him yet. We were on our way to Washington, D.C., and I asked what the new man’s name was,” she said.
“Glenn couldn’t remember exactly. ‘It’s a general’s name. Napoleon, I think,’” Betsy McNeill recalled with a laugh. “I didn’t find out his real name until we got back.”
Very quickly, though, everyone at the company got to know Julius as one of the most focused, efficient and dedicated employees around.
“Julius went about his business at work, never interrupting it for small talk,” Glenn McNeill said. “I would explain to him just one time what needed to be done and he would do that job from then on, never needing to be told again.”
He added that Julius was “very mechanically inclined” and “could do almost everything necessary to keep the newspaper press working,”
Ginny Kispert, a current press department employee with Van Zandt Newspapers, worked side-by-side with Julius 23 years.
“Everybody got along with Julius. This was so much a part of his life. I really hated to see him retire, because he was my best friend at work,” Kispert said.
Linda Nielsen started in 1986 and has been with Campbell-McNeill Publishing and Van Zandt Newspapers LLC at various times for more than 20 years. She spoke of Julius’ willingness to help get the newspapers printed regardless of his own work schedule.
“It was a pleasure working with him. He was one of those people you could count on. Even when he was off, he would come over and help if we needed it, and stay until he needed to,” Nielsen said.
“I always used to ask how he was and he would always say, ‘OK, I think,’ or ‘OK, I guess.’ I used to kid him about that. But he was a good, hard worker, dedicated to his job and to his family,” she added.
Even though he maintained a second job for many years doing the cleaning work for American National Bank in Wills Point, Julius always had time for his family, Oscar Rogers noted.
“There is nobody around any more dedicated to his family than he was. That was true for his kids and grandkids, and then great-grandkids,” Oscar said. “He just was a swell guy.
“He was a man who loved his family 200 percent. He was great to all of them and is going to be missed very much,” Oscar added. “He was liked all over town and in his neighborhood.”
“If someone had a need, Julius was one of the first to give,” Baxter added. “Above all, he loved his family and spoke of them often. I feel blessed to have known and worked with Julius.”