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H. Roger's Story

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H. Roger Smith, Ph.D, age 81, of Mankato, passed away at home surrounded by family on Sunday, December 3, 2017.
A celebration of H. Rogers life will be held 4:00 - 7:00 p.m., December 15, 2017 in the historic Ellerbe Bank room in the Verizon Center. Eulogies will begin at 4:30 p.m.
Born February 10, 1936 to Earle E. Smith and Clare (Holtkamp) Smith in Dover, Ohio H. Roger was a lifelong learner, earning degrees from Antioch University Ohio, Michigan State University, Pratt Institute and Harvard.
Moving to Mankato, Minnesota in 1966 to teach geography, H. Roger contributed to the development of Mankato State Universitys Urban and Regional Studies Institute (URSI). A colorful lecturer who believed in experiential learning, H. Rogers students led studies and workshops that produced tangible improvements for dozens of area communities. He challenged his students and they inspired him in return. Many of H. Rogers students became lifelong friends.
Making Mankato his home, H. Roger loved his river city and amassed a great knowledge about it. Active in the community, H. Roger recognized the importance of downtowns and was a champion of historic preservation long before it was popular. A true history buff, H. Roger was an active member of the Blue Earth County Historical Society, a charter member of Mankatos Heritage Preservation Commission, and attended National Historic Trust conferences. H. Roger had a story for nearly every corner of Mankato that he shared with the public on walking tours and by speaking to dozens of community organizations.
Literally and figuratively, H. Roger was a man who wore many hats. Throughout his life H. Roger read on a wide range of subject matter and vigorously pursued his interests including: horticulture, garden design, stained glass, blue water sailing, fire fighting, cooking, model railroading, collecting gadgets, restoring antique clocks, cars and his historic home in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
H. Roger is survived by his beloved wife of 21 years, Anne; children, Luke Smith of Lake Jefferson, Minnesota, Rebecca Gappa Morgan of Los Angeles, California, John Gappa (Angie) of Good Thunder, Minnesota, Thor (Christa) Snilsberg of Brooklyn, New York, and Tara Snilsberg of Mankato, Minnesota; grandchildren, Anthony, Nicholas, Angela, Freya, Wynn and many dear friends. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Memorials to support scholarships at Minnesota State University Mankato through the Urban Leadership Fund, the Blue Earth County Historical Society or a charity of your choice are appreciated.
Published on December 7, 2017
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