Sara Joanne Byrd Rogers, 92, of Pittsburgh, passed away Thursday, January 14, 2021 at her home. She was born March 9, 1928 in Jacksonville, FL, a daughter of the late Wyatt Adolphus Byrd and Ebra V. (Edwards) Byrd.
In addition to her parents, Joanne was preceded in death by her husband, Fred McFeely Rogers in 2003. She is survived by two sons: James Byrd Rogers (Margaret G.) of Pittsburgh and John Frederick Rogers of Maitland, FL; and three grandsons: Alexander H. Rogers (Caitlin E.) of Gibsonia, Douglas G. Rogers of Gibsonia, and Ian M. Rogers of Maitland, FL.
Joanne received her Bachelor of Music Degree from Rollins College and her Masters of Music from Florida State University. She was a classical trained acclaimed pianist studying under Ernest von Dohnányi, renowned Hungarian-American composer, pianist and conductor. She performed with her college life-long friend, Jeannine R. Morrison, as the Rogers-Morrison Piano Duo, playing around the country and recording two albums over two decades beginning in 1976. She was involved in Fred Rogers’ first show, “The Children’s Corner” on PBS/WQED, taught at Chatham College’s Preparatory School, and taught music for several years at Carlow College in the 1970’s.
Following Fred’s Death in 2003, Joanne was the spokesperson for his legacy. She graciously and generously made herself available to his body of work, his production company, and his mission. With a heart of gold, she had a spirited and most positive attitude, and a wonderful sense of humor with a recognizable bountiful laugh. Joanne loved the performing arts and was prominent in the music communities of Pittsburgh and Latrobe.
She was the recipient of Honorary Degrees from Saint Vincent College, Rollins College, Seton Hill University, and Duquesne University. She was a member of the 6th Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh and served on the Board of Directors of Rollins College, Fred Rogers Productions, Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College, and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Services and interment will be private for the family. A memorial life celebration service will be held at a later date after restrictions due to Covid-19 have been lifted. Memorial contributions in Joanne’s memory may be made to the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650, online at www.fredrogerscenter.org, the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, 600 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, online at www.pyso.org, or to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, 600 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, online at www.pittsburghsymphony.org. The Hartman-Graziano Funeral Home, Inc. in Latrobe, Pennsylvania has been entrusted with the arrangements.