Mr Rogers Widow Just Shared A Detail About Her Husband Nobody Expected…


It’s been just over 50 years since Fred Rogers invited us all to be his neighbor in the wonderful gentle world he created on public television. For decades, Mr. Rogers as he was known was a constant and steady presence in the lives of millions of children helping them navigate and understand the big world around them.

Of course, Mr. Rogers had his own constant and steady presence helping him navigate the world—his wife of 51 years, Joanne.

Now, Joanne is coming forward to share who Mr. Rogers is in REAL LIFE. 

Fred Rogers was known as a patient and kind person. His wife of more than 50 years, Joanne, said he was just the same in real life as he was on television.

Joanne and Fred met at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida in the late 1940s where they were both music majors. Sara “Joanne” Byrd was an only child who grew up in Florida and showed musical abilities from an early age. Joanne started studying piano at age five after a neighbor noticed her musicality and encouraged her mother to have her begin lessons.

From AWM during her interview with TODAY show:

Joanne, now 90 years old, has helped promote the documentary about her late husband, stopping by the Today show to talk about, among other things, how Fred proposed to her after he moved away from Florida to New York.

His approach was unique, but necessary, given their distance, as Joanne recalled: “He wrote me a letter. In my last year at Florida State, he wrote me a letter proposing marriage.” How could she say no?

Another interesting detail about Fred was his obsession with the number 143, as Joanne explained the hidden message in those numbers. She shared: “He really wanted to remain at 143 [pounds] all of his life — all of his adult life, I should say. Especially after he started swimming; he swam every day.”

Joanne continued: “He was very pleased when he would get out of swimming, go and get on the scale: 143. One was I, 4 was L-O-V-E, 3 was Y-O-U. He had enough love to go around.”

Joanne also shared some insight into his younger days, which she said, “he was lively and full of fun,” but he was also very open, she explained: “he talked about his feelings, and I could talk about my feelings to him and the things that bothered us, the things that we loved.”

She continued, “You can’t build a friendship without doing that. And don’t you have to have a friendship to fall back on in your married life? We had it for 50 years. That was nice.”

Fred’s widow also talked about his final days before he passed away following a battle with stomach cancer, noting, “There was a feeling of real relief when I could say to him, ‘You know, we’re going to be OK. We’re going to be all right.”

“The boys will be fine, and I’m going to try to be fine.’ So when he went, I could feel he went at peace and even with joy. I really feel he went with joy,” she noted.

They married in 1952 and Joanne Byrd became Joanne Rogers. As her husband’s television career bloomed, she helped when she could find time between raising their two sons, James and John and keeping up her own career as a pianist.

She provided voices for some of the inanimate objects in the attic on The Children’s Corner, Fred’s first television show, helped answer fan mail, was a frequent guest, and provided the voice for Queen Sara Saturday, the puppet queen on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.

Since Fred passed away in 2003, she has helped carry on his legacy. She served as chair emeritus of the board of the nonprofit Fred Rogers Company, was honored by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh with the Great Friend of Children Award in 2016, and at “91 and a half” years old, she reportedly closed down the party at the premiere of the new film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood which stars Tom Hanks as her husband.

Watch the full interview here: Today/Youtube

Source: AWM

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