Joe Rogers was born in Mullins, South Carolina on October 8, 1921, the son of Joseph Oscar Rogers and Lila McDonald Rogers. He graduated from Charleston High School in 1938 and enrolled at the College of Charleston. He left college to serve his country in the Army during World War II, in the 758th Engineer Company, Seventh Army, stationed in North Africa and France. After the war, he completed his undergraduate education at The Citadel and then earned his law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1950.
He married the former Kathleen Brown of Hemingway in 1949 and three children were born to their marriage — Pamela Rogers Melton, Joseph Oscar Rogers III and Timothy Julian Rogers.
After graduating from the University of South Carolina Law School and being admitted to the practice of law in 1950, Joe moved to Manning, and entered law practice with Charlton Durant. Joe represented Clarendon County in the S.C. House of Representatives from 1954 until 1966 and served as Vice-Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Joe left the Democratic Party and in 1966 he was nominated by the South Carolina Republican Party as its first candidate for Governor in the 20th century. From 1969 to 1971, Joe was United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina.
An active member of the Methodist Church throughout his life, Joe served the Manning United Methodist Church in many capacities — Sunday School teacher, lay leader, chairman of the administrative board, and lay delegate to the annual conference.
Joe Rogers firmly believed in the legal profession as a noble calling, which required keen intelligence, skill and integrity. Those were the qualities which marked the passion and action of his professional and political careers.
Joe Rogers died on April 6, 1999. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Kathleen; by his three children, Pamela R. Melton (Lawrence), Joe Rogers III (Cindy), and Tim Rogers (Meri Lyn); and five grandchildren, Phereby Kathleen Rogers, Patrick Harrison Rogers, Emily Michelle Rogers, Lawrence Parker McAdory Melton, and Joseph Chalmers McDonald Melton.