Rolf Vogen

Obituary of Rolf E. Vogen

Rolf Edward Vogen – A Century Well Lived (November 1, 1923 – November 10, 2023)

A hero of the greatest generation, Rolf Edward Vogen entered the Presence of God on November 10, 2023, leaving a legacy of love, wisdom, faithfulness, friendship, humility, and servant leadership.

Born a son of Norwegian heritage on November 1, 1923, he was the second of three sons of Peter Vogen and Grace Nelson Vogen. Born again a son of God, he was a lifelong follower of Christ. His childhood on farms near Newark, Illinois ranged from oil lamps and animal power to electricity and machines.

Growing up and thriving during the great depression, Rolf began his education in the one-room Naden School, and he graduated from Newark High School in 1941, where he was a charter member of FFA. In 1942, he enrolled in agriculture at the University of Illinois and joined the Farmhouse Fraternity.

Rolf enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in June 1943. Trained as an officer at Notre Dame University, he became a platoon sergeant for tracked landing vehicles and was honorably discharged in July 1946. A decade later, he was discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve as a first lieutenant. He returned to the University of Illinois in 1946, graduating in agriculture in 1948. There he met the love of his life, Jean Yvonne Chastain, a journalism student and member of the neighboring ZTA sorority. Their romance led to marriage in September 1947, and 71 years of shared love and life. Three sons, Jon, Richard (Brenda), and Gary (Gina) survive, as well as seven grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, and a step grandson and his three sons. He was preceded on the path to Glory by his wife, his parents, his two brothers, Robert N. Vogen and N. Paul Vogen, and his daughter-in-law, Maxine Vogen.

Rolf’s professional career began with University of Illinois Extension, first as a 4-H youth development educator in Oregon, Illinois, and then as a county agricultural agent in Jo Daviess County. In 1956, he decided to return to the farm in Newark, Illinois, in partnership with his father. In 1969, he joined the agricultural lending department of the First National Bank of Joliet (Illinois), where he worked until retiring in 1989 as Vice President and department head. For several years following his retirement, he continued to provide farm management consulting services to the bank and his clients.

Rolf served on church councils for Helmar Lutheran Church in Newark, Illinois and Peace Lutheran Church in Morris, Illinois. He also served for twelve years on the Newark High School Board, including as president. He was a long-time 4-H leader and Farm Bureau member in Kendall County, and he was active in the Illinois Association of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.

In their later years, Rolf and Jean left their home in Lisbon and relocated to Mahomet, Illinois, to be near family, where they quickly made friends again in Champaign County. They joined the Lutheran Church of Mahomet and regaled in their beloved Illini. Rolf also became active in the American Legion and Kiwanis. With a love of adventure, they traveled far and wide, visiting family and friends in Europe, Southeast Asia, and throughout America. They stayed active by walking together and working in their flower gardens. Jean went home to be with the Lord in March 2019, and Rolf moved in 2021 to Sun City Center, Florida, to live near his sons. He was loved and admired by all who knew him to his final days, his genuine interest in connecting with others and cheerfulness in his circumstances apparent for all to see. People always commented on his engaging smile and laugh.

Rolf will be remembered in a Celebration of Life, beginning at 10:00 a.m. on March 9, 2024, at the Helmar Lutheran Church, 11935 Lisbon Road, Newark, Illinois 60541. Burial will follow at the Helmar Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Contributions in memory of Rolf Vogen can be made to:

LifePath Hospice: Chapters Health Foundation, 12470 Telecom Drive, Suite 301, Temple Terrace, FL 33637;

Lutheran World Relief: PO Box 17061, Baltimore, MD, 21297-1061;

University of Illinois Foundation, College of ACES: 1305 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801;

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