ECU will honor Rogers with DSA|Recognition will come during ’09 homecoming

Published 8:31 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Community Editor

Julia “Jewelle” Rogers, a River Road resident, is receiving a Distinguished Service Award from the East Carolina Alumni Association on Oct. 16 as part of the school’s homecoming weekend festivities.
Rogers has been lending her services to the university since she graduated with a bachelor’s-of-science degree in business in 1956. She is a former president and current board member of the Friends of Joyner Library, a member of the Friends of Laupus Medical Library, a member and benefactor of the Friends of the School of Theatre and Dance and a member of the Circle of Excellence. She was named a Centennial Legacy Leader in the College of Human Ecology during the school’s recent centennial celebration. She has been elected to ECU’s Educators Hall of Fame.
Rogers also has been actively involved in the greater Washington community since moving to the area some 23 years ago.
She is a member and past president of the Washington Park Garden Club, a member of the Beaufort County Pirate Club and a New Horizon leader at Washington’s First United Methodist Church. Rogers and her husband, Charles, started Lifetime Houses, a modular-homes business, and are members of the Beaufort County Committee of 100.
Rogers credited her alma mater for giving her such an entrepreneurial spirit.
“I would not be where I am today if it was not for (ECU),” she said.
Rogers considers her volunteer work for and contributions made to ECU as her way of giving back to the university.
Of course, working hard for the betterment of eastern North Carolina is nothing new to Rogers.
Rogers said she was born into a poor farming family in Ayden, a small, rural town in Pitt County. When she was 7, her family moved to the outskirts of Greenville. She would help her parents make ends meet by raising tobacco on their small, family farm.
Recalling the toils of the summer tobacco season, she said, “You don’t know what work is until you’ve been suckering tobacco at the barn.”
After her father died when she was 13, Rogers took on some of her family’s household responsibilities.
“Things were not easy,” she said.
She learned to cook, sew and wash clothes at an early age, and by the time she got to ninth grade, she was well ahead of her home-economics classmates.
At ECU, which was East Carolina College at the time she was there, she majored in business with a concentration in vocational and technical education.
After graduating from college, Rogers became a home-economics teacher at Grimesland School.
Three years later, she married the love of her life, Charles, and moved to Greensboro with him for his job with Lowe’s Home Improvement.
Rogers eventually found her way back to eastern North Carolina when her husband was offered and took a job as store manager of the new Lowe’s in Washington.
“We moved a tremendous amount, but worked our way back to be close to ECU,” she said.
The couple lived in Greenville for a short while before deciding to move to the Washington area for good. They have lived in Washington Park for the past 23 years.