George A. Rogers, 85, psychiatrist

George A. Rogers, 85, a founder of the psychiatry department at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, died of pneumonia Monday, June 28, at Friends Village in Woodstown, N.J., where the longtime Cinnaminson resident had lived in recent years.

Dr. Rogers was a pioneer of psychiatry at the hospital, and trained paramedics, nurses, and medical students to do psychiatric evaluations.

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George A. Rogers

"He got everyone on board," said Thomas Newmark, head of psychiatry at Cooper. "It was because of him that the department started."

Dr. Rogers joined Cooper in 1962 as an attending psychiatrist, mostly checking on his own patients. As he became more involved, he held classes for the medical staff on the treatment of alcoholism and psychiatric disorders.

He was an expert in electroconvulsive therapy, a type of shock treatment mostly used on depressed patients, Newmark said.

"It was very successful," Newmark said, adding that his staff still uses the procedure on some patients.

Dr. Rogers, who was chief attending psychiatrist at Cooper from 1974 to 1978, was a quiet, caring man who took equal interest in all his patients, said those who knew him.

"He didn't believe in small talk," said his wife, Leatrice. "He believed in only saying something if it's worthwhile."

In addition to his duties at Cooper and his private practice, first in the Riverton area and then in Cinnaminson, Dr. Rogers served on the executive committees of various health organizations. He helped start the Gloucester County Guidance Center, a clinic that offered group therapy and other programs.

Dr. Rogers was born and raised in Newark, N.J., and graduated from East Orange High School in 1942.

He followed his father, a grandfather, and an uncle into medicine. After studying at Columbia University and Lafayette College, Dr. Rogers entered the Navy Reserve program at Swarthmore College.

In 1948, he married Leatrice Matthias, a nurse practitioner whom he had met while at studying at Hahnemann Medical College. He received his medical degree from Hahnemann in 1949.

The couple lived in San Antonio, Texas, for three years while Dr. Rogers served as an Army doctor, holding the rank of captain at the Brooke Army Medical Center.

He was at West Jersey Hospital in Camden for about a decade before going to Cooper. He also worked at Ancora State Hospital during the 1960s.

Dr. Rogers maintained his practice until his Parkinson's disease was diagnosed in 2005, his wife said. He also retired from Cooper that year.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Rogers is survived by sons Paul and Gregory and one grandson.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 3, in the Fenwick Auditorium at Friends Village, 1 Friends Dr., Woodstown.

Memorial donations may be made to the Woodstown Monthly Friends Meeting, Box 13, Woodstown, N.J. 08098.


Contact staff writer Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917 or cvargas@phillynews.com.