04 Nov Remembering Roy: On his 100th birthday, a look back at the life of a legend
Through his more than 100 films and 17-year radio and television program career, the singing cowboy Roy Rogers earned a listing alongside Abraham Lincoln as one of the people most admired by children.
Rogers and his wife, Dale Evans, also called the Victor Valley home for more than 30 years, putting the area on the map and boosting local pride. The community mourned when Rogers died at 86 years old in 1998.
The life of Roy Rogers:
Nov. 5, 1911 — Leonard Slye is born in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1930 — The Slye family sells its Ohio farm and moves to Southern California. Leonard and his father become truck drivers and later fruit pickers.
1936 — Leonard marries Arline Wilkins in Roswell, N.M.
1938 — Leonard becomes Roy Rogers. Roy takes the lead in the movie “Under Western Stars,” almost instantly becoming a matinee idol.
1938 — Roy acquires “Golden Cloud,” a palomino colt foaled in Santa Cietro, and renames the horse “Trigger.”
1941 — Roy and Arline adopt their first daughter, Cheryl Darlene.
1943 — Arline gives birth to their second daughter, Linda Lou.
1946 — Arline gives birth to Roy “Dusty” Jr. Arline would pass away days later from complications of the birth.
1947 — Roy marries Dale Evans on New Year’s Eve in Davis, Okla.
1950 — Dale gives birth to a daughter, Robin. She had Down syndrome and would pass away less than two years later.
1952 — Roy and Dale adopt Marry Little “Dodie” Doe and later John David, who they would call “Sandy,” a victim of child abuse.
1954 — The couple adopts Marion “Mimi” Fleming while visiting an orphanage in Scotland.
1955 — The couple adopts Deborah Lee from Korea.
1964 — The family moves to Apple Valley; Debbie, 12, is killed in a church bus accident.
1965 — Sandy, 19, dies while serving in the military in Germany.
1967 — Roy Rogers Dale Evans Museum opens in Apple Valley, where the Oasis Lanes bowling center now stands.
1976 — The museum moves to a larger building along Interstate 15 in Victorville; Roy and Dale are inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
1982 — The Victor Valley Child Abuse Task Force, later renamed the Happy Trails Children’s Foundation, is formed to protect children.
1993 — Roy Rogers Drive in Victorville opens for traffic.
1994 — Portion of Highway 18 is christened Happy Trails Highway.
1997 — Roy and Dale celebrate 50 years of marriage at their Apple Valley home; Couple’s Cooper Home for abused boys opens.
July 6, 1998 — Roy passes away of congestive heart failure at 86 years old. He is buried at Sunset Hills Memorial Park, a few miles from his Apple Valley home.
2003 — Museum moves to Branson, Mo.; local site torn down.
2009 — Museum closes its doors and family begins auctioning off its contents.
Sources: Daily Press archives, www.RoyRogers.com