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Joanne Rogers, Fred Rogers’ Widow, Dies at 92

Photo via WQED/Twitter

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.