The Rev. Sannie Rogers, 75, pastor and foster mother

March 18, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

The Rev. Sannie Rogers, a West Baltimore pastor who during the past 25 years took 15 foster children into her home and cared for each as her own, died Friday of a heart attack at Sinai Hospital. She was 75.

When Mrs. Rogers stopped raising the youngsters in the late 1980s, she opened her home daily to homeless people who needed a meal and a place to stay until they got situated. Those stays often lasted three months or more.

"She just loved people, especially children, but everyone she did all she could for," said her daughter Marie Brooks of Baltimore. "She couldn't help the way she was; she just cared about others."

Mrs. Rogers began taking in youngsters in the early 1970s, accepting youths into her five-bedroom home in the 1100 block of N. Fulton Ave. as part of the state's foster children program.

Mrs. Rogers had five children of her own, but always found space in the house and an abundance of love for each foster child.

"The way she treated them kids, you didn't know who was her own and who wasn't," said Maddie Pearson, a neighbor and friend. "Some of them kids weren't always good kids, but they respected her and she loved them."

The youths only stayed with Mrs. Rogers for a couple of years, but she bought them clothes, made sure they went to school and nurtured each until they were placed with an adoptive family.

Ms. Brooks said that a young woman once stole something from the house and didn't want to admit it.

"My mother sat her down and explained to her that it wasn't right and she shouldn't do that," Ms. Brooks said. "The girl started crying and admitted that she did it. My mother went on and kept on loving her."

A native of Dillon, S.C., the former Sannie Hamilton married Johnnie Rogers in 1938 and moved to Baltimore soon after. She worked as a sales clerk at downtown department stores during the 1940s and 1950s, and in the 1960s worked as a cook at the Greyhound bus terminal.

In 1984, she was ordained a minister and several years later became pastor at the Church of God For All People in the 5300 block of Hayward Ave. in West Baltimore. She stopped preaching last year and the church closed.

Her family moved to a house in the 5300 block of Ethelbert Ave. near Pimlico racetrack in the early 1980s, and she soon began to offer meals and a place to stay regularly for homeless people who were referred to her, according to her daughter.

Mrs. Rogers was a familiar sight on her front porch, preaching to area youths against drug use and the dangers of hanging idly on street corners.

"She made a lot of sense to a lot of people," said Petey Wilson, who lives nearby. "I can't say for sure that she changed lives, but she gave people something positive to think about. She'd take people into her house and counsel them and give them some food."

But her kindness sometimes backfired.

"One man stole the family car because the keys were lying around the house," said her daughter. "Someone just took them. We called the police about it and we got it back about a month later. But she still trusted people."

Services are scheduled for noon tomorrow at Bethel Temple Church of Christ, 3910 W. Rogers Ave.

In addition to her husband and daughter, other survivors include two sons, David Rogers and Sanyika Kugenga, both of Baltimore; two other daughters, Lillian Batson of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Fannie McCullough of Baltimore; two brothers, Harra Hamilton and Alphie Hamilton, both of Baltimore; 11 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 3/18/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.