Roger W. Signor

Roger W. Signor

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Roger Williams Signor (10/20/1931-05/04/2019)

Signor, Roger Williams of University City, MO died on May 4, 2019. He is survived by his wife, Mimi, his sons, Gary, Glen and Jim Signor, his daughter, Diane Signor, his step sons James and Nicolas Spatola, husband of Angie, grandchildren Anya Rosener, and Noel and Oscar Spatola, brothers in law Stephen Fenwick and Thomas Hull, husband of Paula. His late wife, Ann, died in 1990. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, June 1st at 4:30 pm at Graham Chapel at Washington University in St. Louis. Memorial Contributions may be made to the Union of Concerned Scientists in memory of Roger’s legacy at www.ucsusa.org/memorial.

Roger spent his early years in Waterbury, Ct. and his later youth in Saranac Lake, NY. Roger was a natural baseball player, always ready for a pick-up game of ball with the kids in the neighborhood. Roger loved the Adirondacks, where his father worked on Whiteface Mountain as an Army weatherman.  

Roger enlisted in the Air Force reserves as a teen during the Korean War. The Armed Forces commander was tipped off by his friend’s dad that he had lied about his age to join, preventing Roger to ship out with his unit, all of whom were killed in battle.  

After leaving college at Saint Lawrence University in Canton, NY, he worked as a reporter and photographer at the Corning Leader in Corning, NY. In 1959 he relocated to St. Louis to serve as Director of Press Relations for the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

Roger became Public Information Director and science writer for Washington University in St. Louis from 1962 until 1976, serving under Chancellors Tom Eliot and William Danforth. He developed collegial relationships with physicians, and wrote about their cutting-edge research.

He wrote articles on the devastation of nuclear war. In 1962, he published in the Bulletin of the Committee for Nuclear Information, “War and the Cities: Target City and Missile Base”, describing what a bomb’s destruction would be if dropped on the campus.

When the black students occupied the office of Chancellor Tom Eliot in 1968, Roger was summoned to assist with the compilation of grievances and demands into a Manifesto. His secretary typed the Manifesto in an all-night session, culminating in a peaceful agreement. Not all the campus protests were non-violent. He witnessed brutal and violent anti-war protests. Protesters set the campus ROTC building afire in 1970.

Roger was an esteemed science writer, earning many awards for journalism. He was fascinated with science and medical discoveries. An active member of the National Association of Science Writers, he brought their national convention to St. Louis in the heyday of Gaslight Square, treating them to the best of jazz music and contemporary entertainment. He served on the board of directors for the local chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI).

Roger was recruited in 1976 to become editor of science and medicine at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He wrote and produced a weekly science page and medicine page, keeping readers abreast of the latest medical discoveries, as well as science and news stories until his retirement in 1995. He had many sources, medical students and nurses within the medical community, and many within the political networks, who helped him uncover wrongdoing, leading to the publishing of exposés. He wrote of the plight of the mentally ill, including the homeless. He covered the tragic closings of all of St. Louis’ public hospitals. Anguished by racism, he wrote “Cherished Moment with a Trailblazer”, a short memoir about his chance meeting with his hero, Jackie Robinson in 1949.  

He created sensitive poems and autobiographical short stories, and artwork, ranging from impressionist paintings, modern art, and nature sketches.  

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  1. Norma Harnack says:

    To Mimi and family
    I am saddened to learn of the passing of your wonderful spouse, father and friend to many. May you find comfort in the good thoughts and prayers that are being offered in condolence.

  2. Judy Dasovich says:

    Mimi,

    My condolences to you and your family.

    I am a huge fan of obituaries. Thank you for sharing Roger’s. People’s stories are all so amazing. What a life!

    Peace, Judy

  3. Bill Smith says:

    So sad to hear this. Roger was a wonderful colleague and a good friend during our shared time at the Post-Dispatch. Best to his friends and family.

  4. Carolyn Moder says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. However: happy that you have so many wonderful memories of your many years with Roger.
    Your love will carry you forward into the next chapter of your journey.

  5. Repps Hudson says:

    Roger left the Post-Dispatch around the time I arrived. He was quiet and professional, and I would have liked to have known him a bit better. He reminds me of the type of high-quality journalist for which the Post-Dispatch had long been known.

  6. Sally Defty says:

    What a wonderful colleague Roger was, always ready to help out with a contact if needed and unfailingly cordial and a delight to work with. He brought so much to the P-D. both in depth of knowledge and skill in rep0orting it. I only wish I had known then about his love for the
    Adirondacks, where I was a lifelong summer resident and became a year-rounder in 2007, when I returned to the US after 13 post-retirement years in Berlin.

  7. Linda Eardley says:

    I worked with Roger on City Desk. He was truly a gentleman and a scholar and also a beloved friend and walking buddy. He always talked lovingly about his family. I send my sincerest condolences.

  8. Donna M Perry says:

    So sorry, I have had the shingles for the past 8 months, Still not able to drive, they effected by vision. I am so sorry, Jack lost his mom in August and our neighbor has the last stages of kidney failure. I miss all of you. I have the shakes so bad that typing is almost impossible.
    Love to you and your family, Donna

  9. Pamella Gronemeyer says:

    Roger will be missed but never forgotten. Mimi, you are a good friend and a courageous fighter for justice for all. I know that Roger loved that about you.

  10. Sharon Tash says:

    Dear Mimi and family,

    I am very saddened to hear of the loss of Roger. I did not know him, but reading the obituary of his life has touched me greatly. It is so wonderful to know that there are people like Roger in our lives who are on the front lines, tirelessly and selflessly working for justice. Mimi, thank you for carrying on his work at Missouri Single Payer. You have truly been an inspiration to me. I regret that I could not help with the organization during your time of extensive care giving. May you and your family find peace in the days ahead. Truly, our world has lost a giant.

    Sharon Tash

  11. Sheila M. Robinson says:

    It is with great sorrow that I am sending my condolences on your recent loss. As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I and would like to share a scripture that has benefited me and many people in time of grief. God reassures us of something wonderful in the Bible at Acts 24:15. It says, “There is going to be a resurrection.” Along with God’s promise to us at Revelation 21:3, 4 of sorrow, death, and pain being done away with permanently.

    It is my hope that this bit of information is of comfort to you. Please be sure to find further information regarding the resurrection at: JW.ORG

    May God be with you.

  12. Donna Rieger says:

    Mimi,
    So sorry to hear of the recent passing of your sweet Roger. I know he will be missed by many.

  13. MarLean & Leo Manoogian says:

    Our deepest sympathy Mimi and family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We are available to be of any help to you . Roger will be missed!

  14. Barbara Finch says:

    I used to pitch story ideas to Roger when I worked for hospitals in the late ’70s and 80s. He was always wonderful to work with and had a great understanding of the health care industry…as well as what made a good story. He was a consummate professional. I am so sorry he is no longer with us and my condolences to you, Mimi, and your family.

  15. Tom and Carole Kennedy says:

    Our condolences to you, Glen, and your family. Your father was a excellent writer and great knowledge to express it. He will be missed.