Christopher Rogers laid to rest
Government wont divulge circumstances of death
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 06:00 am
If the measure of any life is determined by how many people show up at the end, then Christopher Rogers was an exceptional man.
More than 200 people filed into Holy Family Catholic Church Monday morning for a mass of Christian burial, which was immediately followed by a more informal celebration of Rogers’ life in the parish hall.
Rogers, 21, died Jan. 5 when he fell from a second-floor balcony while staying at the Great Parnassus Resort and Spa in Cancun, Mexico. No explanation has been released as to what caused Rogers to fall. Spokespeople with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada have refused to release any information about Rogers’ time in Mexico, whether or not Mexican authorities are investigating his death or if the circumstances of his death are being treated as a homicide.
Foreign Affairs will only say consular staff are in touch with Mexican authorities.
On Monday, however, how Rogers died was in large part forgotten as those gathered to hear how he lived. His two brothers, Cory and Mathew, as well as long-time friend Bryan Yu, shared their memories of a young man dedicated to his studies, to reading and improving the lives of the people he cared about.
Mathew recounted the tale of how his brother served as his only support crew during Mathew’s pursuit at the Grande Cache Death Race, a 125-kilometre ultra-marathon. While more seasoned racers rested with their five-man support crews, getting massages and sucking on energy gels at checkpoints, Rogers met Mathew at the third stop with a Subway sandwich and a bowl of soup.
“He then looked down at me, laughed and said, ‘Man, we have no idea what we’re doing,’” Mathew said.
He was a dedicated hockey player, exemplified by two rows of mourners wearing matching hockey jerseys during the service. He also tried his hand at coaching hockey, volunteered at the St. Albert Curling Club and tutored anyone who needed help with math.
“Chris was constantly trying new things and trying to find his place in the world,” said Cory, who drew special attention to his brother’s consuming love of life and positive attitude.
“In the end Chris knew more than I’ll ever know about life. He knew there were no boundaries or limits, no height or depth, nothing taken or given that could ever contain his loving soul,” Cory said.
Rogers was a voracious reader, both Mathew and Yu said, sticking his nose in a fantasy novel whenever he wasn’t studying. He was entering the final year of his mining engineering program at the University of Alberta where he set ever-higher academic goals for himself. He had received multiple scholarships and, after working in Fort McMurray for two summers, was offered a job by Syncrude that was to begin when he finished his degree.
“His positive attitude on life is something I always admired,” Yu said, drawing laughter from the crowd as he noted how thrilled Rogers would have been knowing how many “pretty girls are here just for him.”
“Like Chris, take a little more pride in your job and schoolwork, and strive for excellence a little bit more,” Yu said. “This way Chris will continue to live through our everyday actions.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the Christopher Rogers Memorial Fund can visit www.giving.ualberta.ca for details. Money raised will be used for reference materials to assist students in senior mining engineering design projects at the University of Alberta.