- Associated Press - Monday, November 28, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Richard Rogers, a decorated war veteran who served in both chambers of the Kansas Legislature before spending 40 years as a federal judge, has died. He was 94.

Rogers died Friday evening at a Topeka care center, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2gyG2g9 ). Stewart Funeral Home in Wamego said he died of natural causes.

Rogers was born Dec. 29, 1921, in Oberlin, which is in northwestern Kansas. His family moved to Wamego when he was in the first grade.

He graduated from Wamego High School in 1939 and from Kansas State University in 1943. Later that year he joined the Army Air Corps and completed Officers Candidate School.

Rogers flew 33 combat missions as a bombardier in a B-24 heavy bomber over Europe in World War II, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He left the military in 1945 and graduated from the University of Kansas Law School in 1947 before entering private legal practice.

Rogers married Beth Stewart in 1946. She died in 1983, but their two daughters and son are still alive. In 1987, Rogers married one of his tenants, Cynthia Conklin, a single mother of two.

“He fell in love with the kids and I. He is a wonderful father,” Cindy Rogers told The Capital-Journal last year.

Rogers served four years in the Kansas House of Representatives and eight years in the state Senate, where he served as the chamber’s president in 1975.

President Gerald Ford appointed Rogers in August 1975 to a U.S. District Court judgeship based in Topeka. He was named a senior U.S. District judge in 1989 and took inactive status in 2015 while continuing to serve the court as a consultant.

J. Thomas Marten, chief U.S. District Court Judge for Kansas, said attorneys enjoyed arguing cases before Rogers because of his sense of humor, breadth of knowledge and his love of people.

“He was an exquisite human being and a hero to a whole lot of people, including me,” Marten said, describing Rogers as a “judge’s judge.”

Services for Rogers will be private and will be open only to family and friends, Cincy Rogers said.

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