With profound sadness, the Rogers family announces the passing of T. Gary Rogers, husband, son, father, brother, grandfather. Rogers was the Chairman and CEO of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream for 30 years as well as the Chairman of Safeway Inc., the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Levi Strauss & Co.
Rogers lived in Oakland, California, for more than 45 years where he provided leadership and vision to the city and numerous community organizations. His passionate devotion to the University of California, Berkeley, and its rowing team, and the Lighthouse Community Charter School will remain part of his legacy to the Bay Area. His philanthropic generosity, through the Rogers Family Foundation, will continue to focus on his life-long pursuit of creating and sustaining excellence.
He was born in Stockton, California, in 1942 and spent his youth in Marin County. A distinguished Eagle Scout, he attributed much of his personal character to his experiences as a Boy Scout, as an oarsman on the crew at UC Berkeley, and his family’s deeply-held values of integrity and honor.
In 1963, he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He was named UC Berkeley All University Athlete that same year and rowed in the 1964 U.S. Olympic Trials.
In the summer of 1964, he married Kathleen “Cab” Tuck, whom he met while working on staff at the UC Berkeley Alumni Association Tahoe Alumni Center.
Rogers spent the mid-sixties serving a two-year term in the Army as a Lieutenant in the Air Defense Artillery based on Mount Tamalpais.
In 1968, he earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and was honored as a George F. Baker Scholar.
At 34, Rogers and his business partner William F. “Rick” Cronk purchased Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream a small regional ice cream company based in Oakland, California. For the next 30 years, Rogers served as Chairman and CEO of Dreyer’s, and together with Cronk, built Dreyer’s into the best-selling ice cream company in the United States.
Rogers often said the building of the Dreyer’s corporate culture was “the best thing we ever did at the company.” It was a culture based on empowerment; respecting and trusting in the abilities of each individual. Every person felt a personal responsibility to “make a difference.” It made Dreyer’s a coveted place to work. In 2002, Dreyer’s was sold to Nestle.
Rogers also served as Chairman of Levi Strauss & Co., the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Safeway Inc. He was also a director of Shorenstein Properties, Stanislaus Food Products and the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. He founded and chaired the Oakland Dialogue, a group of East Bay political, educational, and business leaders.
Gary Rogers was inducted into the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame, was named Harvard Business School Business Leader of the Year, and received the Wharton Business School Joseph Wharton Award. He has also received the University of California Bear of the Year Award.
He was the primary benefactor of the University of California Cal Crew Forever Endowment Fund, the T. Gary Rogers Rowing Center, and the California Rowing Club for elite post-graduate oarsmen. He was also a member of the High Performance Olympic Committee of U.S. Rowing.