Joanne Rogers, Fred Rogers’ Widow, Dies at 92
By Movieguide® Staff
Joanne Rogers, widow of Fred Rogers, died on January 14, 2021. She was 92.
The Fred Rogers Center called her “a joyful and tender-hearted spirit, whose heart and wisdom have guided our work in service of Fred’s enduring legacy.”
Joanne was married to the beloved Mister Rogers, of MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD, for 50 years. Maryann Plunkett portrayed Joanne in the Movieguide® Award-Winning movie A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD in 2019.
Joanne even made a quick cameo for eagle-eyed viewers in the movie as a diner in a restaurant where Fred meets with journalist Lloyd Vogel.
According to the Associated Press:
Born Sara Joanne Byrd in 1928, Joanne Rogers met her future husband at Rollins College in Florida. After Fred Rogers’ death, she helped develop the Fred Rogers Center Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at St. Vincent College in his hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
“Joanne and Fred were Pennsylvania treasures committed to improving our communities and the lives of our children. We will never forget their legacy of kindness,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement.
She is survived by two sons, James Byrd Rogers and John Rogers.
Joanne also opened up about her late husband in the Movieguide® Award-nominated movie WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR. In the documentary, Joanne shares how her husband’s faith guided their lives and how he wrestled with how he was honoring the Lord through his show, MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD.
Joanne was a legacy in her own right, though, as tributes poured in across social media.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 15, 2021
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Joanne Rogers. Joanne was an accomplished musician, passionate advocate for the arts, and loving partner to Fred Rogers for more than 50 years. (From @NewsHour) https://t.co/2gHleRjF5G
— PBS (@PBS) January 15, 2021
My family and I mourn the passing of Joanne Rogers — a devoted friend, an effervescent musical spirit, and a true partner in every way to Fred.
May her journey rejoining Fred be accompanied by lots of laughter, music, and joy. https://t.co/TGrHCVlW3F
— Yo-Yo Ma (@YoYo_Ma) January 15, 2021
We mourn the passing of Joanne Rogers, ΑΩ (Rollins College), who joined the Chapter Eternal yesterday at age 92. Joanne was an acclaimed concert pianist and child advocate and the wife of Mr. Rogers. We were proud to recognize her in our 2020 class of Phi Mu History Makers. pic.twitter.com/qKykJh612c
— Phi Mu Fraternity (@PhiMuFraternity) January 15, 2021
Rest In Peace to the truly wonderful Joanne Rogers- musician, mom, advocate for the children & lifetime partner of the great Fred Rogers.
Joanne Rogers, wife of Mister Rogers, dies at age 92 https://t.co/QiKyKu1e9L via @nbcnews
— Stephanie Ruhle (@SRuhle) January 15, 2021
Pittsburgh – indeed the world – will not be the same without Joanne Byrd Rogers. May she rest in eternal peace. ❤️143❤️ pic.twitter.com/oOBQMiIuvK
— WQED Pittsburgh (@wqed) January 15, 2021