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In loving memory of
Roger Walter Kober
  • Passed away on January 25, 2020

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Obituary

Roger passed away peacefully at age 86 on Jan. 25, 2020 surrounded by his loving wife, Carol and family in his home in New Smyrna Beach, FL. He was a beloved husband of 65 years, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He enjoyed being surrounded by his family, boating on Canandaigua Lake and golfing with his many good friends.

He led Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. for most of the 1990s. He retired as chairman of the board and chief executive officer in January of 1998.

During his 33-year tenure at RG&E, Roger initiated many changes at the company to improve customer and employee satisfaction. Chief among those was employee empowerment – a shift in the corporate culture that pushed decision-making to the lowest possible level. That accelerated completion of projects and response to customers. It was very popular among employees.

Roger also led RG&E when the steam generator at the Ginna Nuclear Plant was replaced, extending the life of the plant’s service to customers.  It is now the second longest serving commercial nuclear plant in the U.S.

Before RG&E, Roger worked at Bailey Meter Co., a division of Babcock and Wilcox.

He was a booster of the local economy. When goods or services had to be purchased for RG&E, he often told managers “I want to do business with people who do business with us.” He served on numerous corporate boards. He was part of the group of local CEOs who finished construction of the downtown Hyatt Hotel.

Roger was active with the United Way. He chaired its fundraising campaign from 1993 to 1995, raising $33 million for local non-profit charities. He launched the annual UW’s Day of Caring, in which numerous employees in the area are given a day off with pay to volunteer at the charity of their choice. It continues today with thousands of participants. He lent his fundraising and management expertise to many inner-city settlement houses.

After the ice storm of 1991, which knocked out power to two-thirds of RG&E’s customers, Roger insisted that the company do a thorough internal analysis of its response. “We are not looking to blame anyone,” Roger told employees. “The only person who will get any blame is the one who has an idea of how we can improve and does not come forward.”

Roger graduated with a degree in engineering from Clarkson College and held a master’s degree in engineering management from RIT; where he continued on to be a member of their board. In retirement, Roger and Carol lived in Canandaigua and New Smyrna Beach, FL.

Roger is survived by his loving wife, Carol; son, Brian, and daughter, Sharon Mack (William). A beloved “Poppy” to his five grandchildren – Sarah Mueller (Kenjamin), Jonathan Calcagno, Ashley King (Bradley), Alexandra and Charles Mack, as well as two great-grandchildren, Kober and Dean Mueller. He is also survived by his sister Shirley Terry (Richard) and several nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Camp Good Days and Special Times, PO Box 665, 1332 Pittsford-Mendon Rd., Mendon, NY 14506 or to a charity of your choice.

Services for Roger will be announced at a later date.

 


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  1. 02 Feb 2020
    Lee M. Loomis says:
    Dear Kober Family,

    On behalf of the RG&E Armed Forces Club, please accept our deepest sympathies on the passing of Roger.

    He was a fine man, a great leader, a mentor to many, and a good friend to all who knew him.

    Sincerely,

    Lee M. Loomis, Chaplain

  2. 02 Feb 2020
    George A. Haskins says:
    I was saddened today to read of Roger's passing. Knew he and Carol well when we were all in Webster. He was a most effective and caring leader of RG&E when it was a independent company. May memories of him sustain his surviving family and his soul rest in peace.

  3. 02 Feb 2020
    Scott says:
    I worked at Ginna from 1986 until 2015. Roger was very good to us. He carried us through the Steam Generator replacement when we were worried for our jobs. Good leader and good man.

  4. 30 Jan 2020
    Frank Orienter says:
    We lost a good and caring man. Roger was always kind to employees and people in the community. I'm saddened by his passing. Condolences to his wife Carol and the rest of his family. May he rest in peace

  5. 30 Jan 2020
    Richard Sperduto says:
    RIP Roger and thank you for your support during my career at RG&E.
    Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family .

  6. 30 Jan 2020
    Jill Willoughby lit a candle:
    Lit since January 30, 2020 at 1:50:44 PM

  7. 30 Jan 2020
    Steve Dudek says:
    Prayers for the family in this time of grief. I was an employee at RG&E during Roger's tenure and remember him fondly.

  8. 30 Jan 2020
    Dennis Sugumele says:
    Deepest sympathy to Carol and all of Roger’s family. I was privileged to have worked with Roger when I was with the DEC and then when I joined RG&E. Rest In Peace.

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