Rog married Gail DeBoer on September 7, 1963, at the First Baptist Church in Spring Lake, Mich. Together they celebrated 55 years of marriage. He was able to fight a long and courageous battle with kidney cancer with the support of many friends and family members.
Rog had a satisfying and distinguished career in public education, which included 33 years as an elementary school principal for Grand Haven Area Public Schools. During his career, he was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the field of education. He was the recipient of the Egbert Winter Prize for the male student graduate most likely to succeed in the field of education. He was given this award upon graduation from Hope College in 1964. Rog was also honored by the Grand Haven school system when he was chosen as the first recipient of the Excellence in Service Award in the category of Administrator. He was seen by students, parents, teachers and fellow administrators as a devoted advocate for children.
During his lifetime, he also contributed to the local community through his service in several capacities by helping to build the first Imagination Station, and serving on the boards of Young Life and Tri-Cities Ministerial Counseling. Rog was also co-director of their church’s Kids Hope program with his wife, Gail. He enjoyed family vacations, including skiing in Colorado and a trip to Disney World in Florida. Throughout his life, Rog took great pride in maintaining a beautifully landscaped yard that was included in the Grand Haven club’s Garden Tour. He also enjoyed sports throughout his lifetime. Rog played many sports in high school and, later, coached eighth-grade football, played church league softball, and participated in the chain gang during the Grand Haven High School football games for a number of years.
He was the proud father of two daughters, Jodie (Jeff Harkness) Rose-Harkness of Minneapolis, Minn., and Amy Smant of Grand Haven. Rog also greatly enjoyed spending time with his four grandchildren: Nicholas “Nick” Vanderwest of Goose Creek, S.C.; Anna and Sophia Rose, and William Harkness, all of Minneapolis, Minn. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Gail; his daughters, Jodie and Amy; his grandchildren; brother, Gerald “Jer” (Suzanne) Smant; his nephews and their families. Rog was preceded in death by his parents, Gerald and Connie Smant; sister, Carole Ann Smant; brother, Ronald “Ron” Smant; and his in-laws, Ralph and Donna DeBoer.
The Celebration of Life for Rog will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 12, 2019, at United Methodist Church of the Dunes with Pastor Lou Grettenberger officiating. Visitation will be Friday, January 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. (tonight) at Klaassen Family Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service Saturday at the church. Memorial contributions may be made to Harbor Hospice or Kids Hope USA of Zeeland. Please visit www.klaassenfuneralhome.com to sign Rog’s online guestbook.