Orville Rogers

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Orville Rogers
Orville Curtis Rogers

(1917-11-28) November 28, 1917 (age 101)
Alma materUniversity of Oklahoma
OccupationPilot with Braniff Airways
Esther Beth (Shannon) Rogers
(m. 1943; died 2008)

Orville Rogers (born November 28, 1917) is a retired American pilot and competitive runner.

Early life[edit]

Orville was born to Stephen Alfred Rogers and Lily Leona (Johnston) Rogers at home in Hubbard, Texas. Soon after, the family moved to Okemah, Oklahoma. Orville's sister, Veva Jean Rogers, was born in 1922. After short stays in Oklahoma City and Edmond, Oklahoma, Stephen left, and Lily moved her family back to Okemah to live with her parents, Rueben Jefferson Daniel Johnston and Mary Elizabeth (Gilbreath) Johnston. When Orville was 10, Rueben moved the family moved to Sulphur, Oklahoma. Lily had five brothers, including William (Bill) Green Johnston and Ralph A. (RA) Johnston. Both found success in the oil industry.[1][2] Orville graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1940, where he met his future wife, Esther Beth Shannon (class of 1941).[3][4]


Orville has set multiple world records, shown in the List of world records in masters athletics. At the age of 50, Rogers took up running after reading the book Aerobics by Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper.[5][6] Rogers credits Dr. Cooper with saving his life, "at least once, probably twice," first by kickstarting his running career, and again when Dr. Cooper discovered blockage in his heart during a Cooper test. Orville has competed in Masters athletics races, setting records at the age of 90[7] and 95.[8] In 2015, Orville teamed up with other nonagenarians to set multiple relay running records.[9] He made national news after a video of his sprint against then 92 year old Dixon Hemphill went viral. Rogers, 99 at the time, won the race by 0.05 seconds.[10][11] To celebrate his 100th birthday, Orville and his family ran a combined 100 miles.[12][13] He then set two 100-year-old age group records in the 60m at 19.13 and 400m at 4:16:90 while competing at the 2018 USATF Masters Indoor Championships.[14]

Commercial pilot[edit]

Based in Dallas, Orville was a Braniff International Airways commercial pilot for more than three decades.[15][16]


Orville and Esther Beth have been generous supporters of many organizations, including Dallas Baptist University[17] and the Frontiers of Flight Museum.[18]


  1. ^ "JOHNSTON, RALPH A." TSHA. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
  2. ^ "The Archivist: Nappy, the Mountain Lion, was a celebrity in Oklahoma City". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  3. ^ "Calling the Roll of Sooner Classes" (PDF). digital.libraries.ou.edu. 2017 [1946].
  4. ^ Troxtell, Adam. "From the sky down: OU grad Rogers trades wings for running medals". The Norman Transcript. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  5. ^ "2014 Member Awards". Cooper Aerobics. Retrieved 2004-12-19.
  6. ^ "99-year-old Runner (Texas Country Reporter)". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  7. ^ "Faces in the Crowd". si.com. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  8. ^ Track and Field, USA. "Orville Rogers Member Spotlight". USATF. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
  9. ^ Winters, Wendi. "91-year-old Annapolis man, three others break world track and field record". Capital Gazette. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  10. ^ Fox, Kit. "99-Year-Old Upsets 92-Year-Old in Thrilling Sprint". Runner's World. Retrieved 2017-02-24.
  11. ^ Soong, Kelyn. "92-Year-old runner can't wait for a rematch after video of race goes viral". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  12. ^ Spiroff, Ally. "How Does the Fastest Centenarian Celebrate His Birthday? With a Run, Of Course!". Runner's World. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  13. ^ Francis, Enjoli. "Family, friends lace up sneakers for 100-year-old marathoner's birthday run". ABC News. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  14. ^ "Watch: 100-year-old Dallas runner sets pending world record at USATF Masters Indoor Championships". Dallas News Sports Day. March 18, 2018.
  15. ^ "Runner, 95, Breaks World Records". abcnews.go.com.
  16. ^ "Calling the Roll of Sooner Classes" (PDF). digital.libraries.ou.edu. 2017 [1946].
  17. ^ "DBU Report Vol. XXII No.3". DBU.
  18. ^ "Meet Capt. Orville Rogers, an extraordinary man". flightmuseum.com.