Lanny Gerald Rogers, a 25-year veteran of the motorcoach industry, passed away in Houston on March 8, 2012. He was 76
Rogers was born in Kaufman County, Texas on May 7, 1935, the son of John Leonard and Ethel Mae Rogers. When he was 12, the family relocated to Dallas. In 1952, Rogers joined the U.S. Navy and served honorably until 1956.
That same year Rogers married his sweetheart, Jean Sams, and they enjoyed more than 55 years of marriage while raising their three sons.
After completing his military service, Lanny and Jean settled in Dallas, where he began a career with Braniff Airlines as an aircraft mechanic. He became active in the labor union at Braniff, and was eventually promoted to Business Agent with the International Association of Machinists. During this tenure, he was President of IAM District 146, and represented thousands of airline and related industry workers until he retired from the union in 1985.
In 1986, Rogers purchased a local motorcoach company, Gray Line Tours of Houston. Under his leadership, Gray Line grew to over 100 motorcoaches providing quality nation-wide motorcoach transportation. In 1996, he sold Gray Line to Coach USA and remained with the company for two more years.
Rogers started First Class Tours in 1998 after he decided "retirement was not for him." The company began with one motorcoach, traveling to and from the Louisiana casinos and now has more than 25 in the fleet, with destinations nationwide.
During his ownership of Gray Line, the management, sales and maintenance staff operated 110 motor coaches in the Houston Market providing quality transportation in all markets to all destinations.
Rogers was also known for his philanthropic work in his adopted hometown of Houston. In 1986, he founded the Eastex Auditorium Bing Hall which supported many local charities.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the American Bus Association Foundation, www.buses.org/ABA-Foundation/Donate