Cover photo for Ted Roggen's Obituary
1918 Ted 2022

Ted Roggen

February 22, 1918 — March 4, 2022

Ted Roggen passed away peacefully on March 4, 2022, after 104 happy years.
He was born in Houston on February 22, 1918, to Hyman and Tillie Roggen, loving Jewish parents who owned Roggen’s General Merchandise.
After a three-year-old Ted survived diphtheria, he grew up in Houston’s bustling 1920’s downtown scene. With a mischievous grin, he recalled wreaking havoc and getting to know the many families who transformed Houston into a commerce hub (including the Battlesteins, Sakowitzes, and Zindlers). As a youngster, he would spend Saturdays downtown selling the Houston Chronicle to among others, Jesse Jones.
Ted went to Longfellow Elementary, Johnston Junior High, and San Jacinto High. During high school, he worked as the assistant football manager and wrote for the school paper. Those roles helped him find his calling in public relations while helping amplify the accomplishments of his close friend Young Bussey on the rise to football stardom.
Ted dreamed of attending college but lacked the resources to do so. Cue his experience as a football manager and the unyielding friendship of Young Bussey. And just like that Ted received a full athletic scholarship to Louisiana State University, where he helped manage the football team and studied journalism. He also helped lead Sigma Delta Chi, a national journalism fraternity.
Graduating college on the eve of World War II, Ted paused his career ambitions to serve his country. He joined the 143rd Infantry, 36th Division, on April 22, 1941. On September 9, 1943, at the rank of Captain, Ted helped the Allies invade Salerno, Italy. Five days later, the Nazis captured him and 260 other Americans. He showed extraordinary courage as the Nazis moved him from Italy to Berlin, and then on to nine days in solitary confinement in Luckenwalde, Germany. Later, the Nazis moved him to Altburgun, Poland, at camp OFLAG 64. Four years to the day that he joined the army, Russian troops liberated Ted. For his heroism and courage, he received two purple hearts and the bronze star. When reflecting on his service, the ever-witty Ted said, “I got a purple heart, a cluster, and frostbitten feet.”
Back in Houston, Ted began a storied fifty-year career in public relations at his own firm. With the gift of gab and upstart initiative, Ted began with cold calls to well-known businesses and individuals. Eventually, his clients included the Pappas family, Ninfa Laurenzo, and Tony Mandola. He loved when got to focus on promoting entertainers by bringing them to Houston—a part of his business that did not yield a lot of profit but one that enriched Houston’s cultural scene. And he warmly welcomed Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, and the Harlem Globetrotters to town when no one else would.
Ted got so much joy from many close friendships. With over a century’s experience as a friend, he would say that “friends stand beside each other, never above or beneath them.” Writing also brought him joy. Together, those passions led him to write many letters to friends and two books, mostly about friends.
But above all else, Ted relished time spent with the love of his life, Sydney—a caring, compassionate, and dynamic soul. Their 64-year love story puts movies and novels to shame.
He is survived by his wife; a son; and grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter, Arlene, his parents, and many close friends.
The family wishes to thank many much-loved helpers, notably the staff at Bayou Bend.
Donations can be made to the LSU Alumni Association
and Congregation Emanu El
Ted’s extraordinary life will be celebrated at 10:00 AM on March 6 at Emanu El Memorial Park. And as Ted would say, “May you all live to be 104, and the last person you speak to be Ted Roggen.”
To order memorial trees in memory of Ted Roggen, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, March 6, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Kagan-Rudy Chapel in Emanu El Memorial Park

8341 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77074

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