Dr. Joseph Megeath Rogers, 90, a long-time leader in Virginia steeplechase racing, died on Saturday, March 8, at his Hillbrook Farm near Hamilton following a stroke.
A physician, farmer, businessman, rural land conservationist, philanthropist, and expert horseman, Dr. Rogers was best known as an owner, trainer, and rider of successful steeplechase horses, which ran in his red silks with white cross sash.
Dr. Rogers, whose family owned Wilkins Rogers Milling Co., was a founder of the Oatlands Point-To-Point of the Loudoun Hunt, of which he was the long-time master of foxhounds, as well as of the former Morven Park Steeplechase, which was the first Virginia race meet to offer pari-mutuel wagering.
A long-time board member of the Westmoreland Davis Foundation, which operates the historic Morven Park estate north of Leesburg, Dr. Rogers was also a founder of the Morven Park Equestrian Institute and the Loudoun County Pony Club. He was a founding director of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting and the American Academy of Equine Artists.
He was vice chairman of the Founders Committee of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Veterinary College at Morven Park. He was a founder and director of the Virginia Steeplechase Association, a senior steward of the National Steeplechase Association, and a founder and life member of the United States Combined Training Association.
On the racecourse, he won the Virginia Gold Cup with three different horses. One of them, two-time winner King of Spades (1970, 1972) was the subject of a song recorded by the legendary bluegrass band The Country Gentlemen.
He was instrumental in the creation of the Goose Creek Historic District, which includes several thousand acres of permanently preserved rural land, and put more than 900 acres of his own farm in preservation easements.
A 1947 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Dr. Rogers returned to Loudoun to establish a private practice and once served as chief of staff at Loudon Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Rogers is survived by his wife, Donna Truslow Rogers; brothers Samuel Hamilton Rogers Jr. and Richard Alexander Rogers; his children, Marilyn Ashby Rogers Renner, Joseph Megeath Rogers Jr., and Elizabeth Rogers Villeda; and his granddaughter, Hannah Megeath Rogers Tucker. His brother, Howard Cochran Rogers, predeceased him.
Arrangements are being handled by Hall Funeral Home in Purcellville. Services are tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, at St. James Episcopal Church in Leesburg, with burial at Union Cemetery in Leesburg.