Joanne Rogers, an an accomplished concert pianist who celebrated and protected the legacy of her husband, the beloved children’s TV host Mister Rogers, has died in Pittsburgh. She was 92.
Rogers died Thursday, according to the Fred Rogers Center. No cause of death was given. The center called her “a joyful and tender-hearted spirit, whose heart and wisdom have guided our work in service of Fred’s enduring legacy.”
Joanne and Fred Rogers were married for more than 50 years, spanning the launch and end of the low-key, low-tech “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” which presented Fred Rogers as one adult in a busy world who always had time to listen to children. His pull as America’s favorite neighbor never seemed to wane before his death in 2003.
“I can’t think of a time when we’ve needed him so much,” Joanne Rogers told The Associated Press in 2018. “I think his work is just as timely now as it was when it came out, frankly.”
An ordained Presbyterian minister, Fred Rogers produced the pioneering show at Pittsburgh public television station WQED beginning in 1966, going national two years later. He composed his own songs for the show.