Joanne Rogers, a classical pianist and the widow of children’s television icon Fred Rogers, has died. She was 92.
Rogers served as chair of the board of Fred Rogers Productions, and in a statement, the nonprofit praised her as a “brilliant and accomplished musician, a wonderful advocate for the arts, and a dear friend to everyone in our organization.”
Joanne and Fred Rogers met in Winter Park, Florida, while she was studying at Rollins College. She learned how to play the piano at 5 years old, and during a 2019 interview, said she bonded with her future husband over music. “Music meant a lot to both of us,” Rogers said. “We had that in common and we talked often of, ‘How do people live without music?'” They married in 1952, and had two sons: Jim and John. Fred Rogers died in 2003.
As a classically trained concert pianist, Rogers toured across the United States; over the course of 36 years, she played more than 300 concerts with her friend, Jeannine Morrison, and together they released two albums. “She was always able to be Joanne Rogers as opposed to Mrs. Fred Rogers,” her son Jim Rogers told The New York Times in 2019. “She has always been her own person.”