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When partnering with HighGround, you can be confident that your long-term goals are attainable. By focusing on tailormade solutions to meet your financial and investment objectives, with the support of investment specialists to handle complex assets, legal experts to compliment and extend your efforts and account support professionals to deliver sub-accounting and reporting, we are your total endowment solution.
Our results speak for themselves. And while this gives us confidence, we look to the future rather than the past. We exhibit high standards because ours is a higher calling.
Long Life, Large Legacy - Orville Rogers
At 101 years old, Orville Rodgers would have told you that he had been blessed many times throughout his life.
“I never asked for fame, fortune or a long life, but God has blessed me with all three,” he said during a visit at our office in downtown Dallas.
At an early age, Orville realized he wanted to dedicate his life to achieving the maximum benefit to God’s work. He also thought he had the perfect way to live this out – by serving as a pastor. As is often the case, though, God had other plans. Shortly after enrolling in the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1940, Orville received a draft notice. His dream of preaching came to a screeching halt.
Orville chose to enlist in the United States Army and was enrolled in the Air Corps pilot program. He served as a flight instructor for the duration of World War II. While he didn’t realize it then, this path began a new chapter in his life that would eventually serve a greater purpose in his commitment and service to the Lord.
When his military career came to an end, Orville simply traded one uniform for another. He and his wife, Esther Beth, returned to Dallas and he signed on as a pilot for Braniff Airways. Outside of a recall into the U.S. Air Force in 1952 to a Select Crew in the Strategic Air Command, with an assigned target of Russia if war was declared, Orville served a total of 31 years with Braniff Airways.
Throughout and after his career with Braniff, Orville would discover his experience as a pilot would, in fact, come in very handy for carrying out God’s work. Rogers flew missions for Wycliffe Bible Translators, a nonprofit organization that travels the world facilitating the spread of the gospel, and their affiliate Jungle Aviation And Radio Service (JAARS). In total, he would fly more than 40 years for the organization and serve 39 years as a JAARS board member, including 13 years as the board chair.
Dallas was a beacon of faith and light for Orville and Esther Beth as they became active at First Baptist Dallas. Orville recalls being inspired as a young married man as he listened to one preacher challenge his audience to upend the idea of tithing a small percentage of their income to the church. Instead, he challenged them to live off a small percentage of their income and donate the majority to benevolent institutions. Orville was inspired.
In 1960, Orville also met Jim Cantrell, then president of the Baptist Foundation of Texas, and established a small trust with the organization. He has since grown a once-small trust into several large ones. Working diligently with HighGround and its investment team, Orville has established four charitable trusts, which benefit a total of 11 benevolent organizations. He also established 2 endowment funds, which benefit six more charities. Our legal team has also assisted him in issuing testamentary gifts in his last will and testament.
He and his wife have been avid supporters of Baptist institutions such as Dallas Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1993, he and Esther Beth receive the B.H. Carroll Award from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for their constant support.
After Esther Beth passed away, Orville found a new way to make a difference by competing in the 2008 Masters Indoor Track Championship in Boston. As a result, he broke the world records for the mile and 800-meter races for his age bracket and was featured in USA Today. Since his career as a runner began, he has run more than 43,000 miles. Orville averages 8 miles of roadwork a week and continues to honor his wife’s legacy with every step. He has broken 18 world records in running for men above 90 years of age.
He is the epitome of a HighGround donor and over the years has committed his talent, faith and assets to the communities that enriched his life.
Orville ran and enjoyed spending time with his family, which includes three children, their spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren until his passing on November 14, 2019, two weeks before his 102nd birthday.