A Retired Man
Tragedy struck when Roger’s friend Albert Ingalls, the former editor of “The Amateur Scientist,” was hit by a car while riding his motor scooter in 1957. He was hospitalized but never recovered from his injuries, passing away months later. Also in 1957, while at a party of sorts, Roger accidentally stepped off a dock and into a bay, breaking his arm in the process in an incident which he later mused was “more annoying and painful than serious.”
These years also saw the worst stages of Roger’s asthma, a condition for which there was no definitive treatment. He was hospitalized at times, and various letters to his friends and associates document his frustrated attempts to cope with the affliction and instances where it became distressingly overbearing. He was put on a strong medication regimen and received daily injections of ACTH, an experimental asthma treatment that surfaced in the late 1940s. He developed a general inability to deal with many situations or continue life with his characteristic exuberance, a circumstance that was greatly shaped by his chronic asthma attacks.
Roger saw the peak and decline of his involvement with organized associations during this period of his life. His battles and personal tribulations with various art associations, particularly his continued confrontation with the Pasadena Art Museum and the “Harvard nature” of Pasadena art jury members and museum managers, surfaced more frequently in his personal correspondence. Otherwise, Roger seemed to be enjoying his various engagements and was confirmed as Chairman of the Art Exhibitions Committee of the University Club of Los Angeles in 1956. Around this time he resigned from both the American Institute of Architects and the Twenty Club but continued his involvement, to varying degrees, with the Laguna Beach Art Association, the British Astronomical Association, the Pasadena Art Fair, the Pasadena Society of Artists (President, 1956-1957), Pasadena Artists Associates (President, 1960), Leslie Briggs Discussion Group, One-Hundred-to-One Shot Club, Operations Research Society of America and American Geophysical Union.
Roger likewise continued to produce his own art and delivered talks to various audiences on styles of art and scientific theories of color. As he aged he developed a tendency to share his thoughts about the philosophy of art and to define his own personal style with greater detail:
“In the matter of styles in art, I have worked in conventional non-representational styles as well as expressionist styles but find most satisfaction in representational art.”
“I am an incorrigible impressionist who enjoys landscape.”
He continued to show his work in various galleries, primarily in the Pasadena and Los Angeles area, though with some exceptions in more distant locations in California and Arizona. He began tutoring a boy from the local orphanage in drawing and painting, and continued to do so for two years before the boy was adopted. Afterwards, Roger tutored several other students, an activity he enjoyed and that allowed him to impart his practical skills and knowledge onto interested youth. He and Betty also began feeding all sorts of birds in their backyard, and Roger betrayed an especially fond disposition towards hummingbirds. But even while Roger expressed interest in so many different things, sports was never one of them:
“Professional athletics leaves me utterly cold. I wouldn’t walk across the street to see the twelve apostles play football with the Supreme Court.”