John Kelly Rogers
Devoted husband and father John Kelly Rogers of Norman, OK passed away on November 5, 2019. He was surrounded by family at the time of his death.
Kelly was born in Knoxville, TN to William and Sarah Rogers. He grew up all over the country, with time spent in Kansas City, El Paso, Reston, VA and Wrentham, MA, before graduating high school in Wilton, CT. He attended the University of Oklahoma where he earned his B.A. in Philosophy. He remained an avid supporter of Sooner athletics throughout his life.
He met and married his wife Donna while attending OU and they had two sons Ben and Sam.
In 1988 Kelly moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he embarked on a successful career as a chef. Kelly quickly became a mainstay of the city's culinary community with stints at Mark Miller's Coyote Café, Café Pasqual's, and Santacafe, before settling in as Executive Chef of La Casa Sena for nine years. He was at the forefront of the nascent farm-to-table movement, serving on the board of the Santa Fe Farmer's Market and Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta. He was featured as a guest chef at the James Beard House and his recipes appeared in Gourmet Magazine, numerous cookbooks, and local publications.
The family moved in 2004 to Fredericksburg, Texas, where Kelly opened his own restaurant, Kelly's Café. Combining family recipes and elevated techniques from his fine dining background, Kelly described this as his favorite food endeavor.
An avid golfer, Kelly avoided competitive play and emphasized the natural beauty and personal growth inherent in the game - his advice to his sons, on the course and in life, was to "play within yourself." He preferred the rangy unpredictability of municipal courses to the manicured perfection of country clubs. Kelly would also pass on his love of music to his sons, with a particular fondness for Bob Dylan. Kelly will be remembered for his creativity, which pervaded all aspects of his life, and his compassion, especially for animals.
Kelly was preceded in death by his father Bill, mother-in-law Sue Brown, and brother-in-law Terry Gittins. He is survived by wife Donna, sons Ben and Sam, daughter-in-law Kyle, mother and stepfather Sarah and Arno Frerichs, father-in-law Roy Brown, siblings Stephanie and husband Jeffrey, Joni and husband Brian, and Will and partner Beth, and by his wife's siblings Randy and Linda Brown, Ron and Liz Brown, Susan and Bob Weaver, Lawrence and Kelly Brown, his nieces and nephews Tyler, Jon, Everett, Kristalin, Jace, Matt, Andrew, Lauren, Ellisa, Aleks, Kaden, Willow, Drake, and Faith, as well as his dog Emmitt.
A family service will be held in Bella Vista, Arkansas where he will be interred alongside his father at Bella Vista Cemetery. In lieu of flowers please consider donations to a local food pantry, farmer's market, or animal shelter.
Online condolences may be shared at (405.292.4787).
Published on November 8, 2019


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