Sarah (Sally) Criswell Steck Rogers of Winchester, MA, formerly of Arlington, MA, slipped away from us on November 30, 2020. Born in Frederick, MD on March 28, 1923, she was the daughter of the late Malcolm M. Steck Sr. and Sarah C. Graham Steck. Sally celebrated 67 years of marriage to her beloved husband, George C. Rogers Jr., who predeceased her in 2017. Loving mother of Caleb C. Rogers of Lexington, MA and his wife, Ricki D. Pappo and Mary M. Rogers of North Billerica, MA. Grandmother of Rebecca E. P. Rogers and her husband Danny Loss of Arlington, MA and Jason G. P. Rogers and his wife, Emily Koh of Norcross, GA. Great-grandmother of Gabriel and Maxwell Loss of Arlington, MA.

Sarah’s family moved from Maryland to Camden, NJ, where her father taught history at Camden High School. Sarah, as she was called by family, and her four siblings enjoyed spending summer vacations at her Grandfather’s cabin at Murphy’s Hollow along the Susquehanna River in Wrightsville, PA. To this day they affectionately refer to it as ‘The River.’ It was there that Sarah acquired her lifelong taste for Lebanon bologna (‘Leb’), sticky buns, and sand tart cookies.

After graduating high school in 1940, Sarah attended the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. During the war years she took a position as a lab technician at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania where among other duties, she managed a colony of rats which were used in penicillin research. Later, a lab position at the Kind and Knox Gelatin company led to a lifelong family joke of Sarah having worked at the ‘glue’ factory.

Sarah met George when he was invited to one of the Steck sisters’ parties. The sisters needed an extra ‘guy’ and George’s friend Ed Jakway, who was dating Sarah’s sister Margaret, brought George along and the rest is history. George graduated from Colgate University in Hamilton, NY one weekend in June 1950 and he and Sarah were married the next weekend. Sarah joined George at Colgate where he worked as an undergraduate preceptor.  Son Caleb arrived while they were at Colgate.  George continued his education at Boston University in 1954 which brought them to Arlington, MA.  Daughter Mary was born at Symmes Hospital the next year.

In Arlington, Sally, as she now chose to call herself, began her lifelong involvement in community organizations and activism. She joined the Arlington League of Women Voters, the Parmenter School PTA and the Pleasant Street Congregational Church (PSCC), where she was a member for over 50 years until the church closed in 2011. At PSCC she served on numerous committees over time including as church historian during the closing period. Shortly after, Sally joined the Park Avenue Congregational Church (PACC).

In response to the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Sally mobilized PSCC to support the establishment of a multi-cultural childcare center at the church. In 2008, she was recognized by the Arlington Martin Luther King Jr. Committee for her role in co-founding the Rogers-Pierce Children’s Center, which continues to promote racial justice. Sally was honored to attend the Center’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2018.

Sally was an active member of the Arlington Historical Society, where she enjoyed training tour guides and giving tours of the historic Jason Russell House, often in 18th century dress. She also created the Society’s Winter Wednesdays program which is now heading into its 11th year. In 1997, Sally was the chairperson of the Society’s 100th anniversary gala celebration.

She was involved with several community action organizations including Mothers Out Front and the Arlington Central America Committee. In the late 1980’s Sally joined the Witness for Peace organization on a 2-week peace mission to Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Sally was an active and regular voter. She proudly cast her first presidential vote for FDR in 1944 and equally proudly cast her most recent vote for Joe Biden.

Sally and George were well known for their separate vacations. While George went off hiking with the Appalachian Mountain Club, Sally travelled the world with the Elderhostel program (now called Road Scholar). A lifelong learner, Sally was curious about everything. She greatly enjoyed courses at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Tufts University. She read the daily Boston Globe right up until her last day. Sally supported PBS and was thrilled to find that when she moved to the Gables at Winchester Assisted Living Community, she had four PBS channels. She loved the British sitcoms but her true favorites were ‘Morse’ and ‘Doc Martin.’

A longtime member of the Arlington Friends of the Drama community theatre, Sally would join George in their usual seats for every show. While George worked with the set crew, Sally occasionally assisted the audition committee. Their home was located near the theater and it often hosted cast parties and the occasional napping actor between shows. Many friends and family enjoyed the dinner parties and afternoon teas that Sally hosted in her dining room beside her beautiful blue Dutch tiled fireplace.

Sally enjoyed being outdoors tending her home’s many plantings and landscaping. Sally and George hosted their annual neighborhood Tree Party in October for twenty-four years while the sugar maple tree was in full autumn splendor. Granddaughter Rebecca and her family, who now live in the house have continued the tradition.

Sally held positions as an administrative assistant for a Cambridge pediatrician, the Pleasant Street Congregational Church, and the Arlington Office of Elder Affairs.

She loved music, particularly music you could sing along with. Pete Seeger songs echoed her personal beliefs. Trips to the Boston Ballet and the Museum of Fine Arts were favorite cultural activities. She was a frequent participant in activities of the Arlington Senior Center and the Winchester Jenks Center.

More recently Sally developed an interest in poetry and eagerly participated in poetry writing classes.

Sally will be greatly missed by her sister-in-law, Gertrude (Trudi) Steck, of Palmyra, VA and her eight loving nieces and nephews: Leslie, Julie, Sally, Richard, Susan, Kenneth, Erika, and Tania. Sally was predeceased by her sisters Mary S. Weiford and Margaret S. Jakway, her brothers Malcolm M. Steck Jr. and Duncan G. Steck and her brothers-in-law Richard M. Weiford Sr. and Edward M. Jakway.

Sally’s family and friends will miss her spirit, her beautiful smile, and the twinkle in her eye.

Sally’s family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to her team of caregivers from Clark Care in Winchester and the staff at the Gables of Winchester.

If you wish to remember Sally, please consider a memorial donation in her memory to one of her favorite organizations:

Arlington Historical Society, 7 Jason Street, Arlington, MA 02476

Rogers-Pierce Children’s Center, 75 Pleasant Street, Arlington, MA 02476

A memorial service is planned at a future date.