Guldrid “Goldie” Eliason was born in Lostwood, North Dakota, on August 29, 1911. She was the third daughter of Gustav and Anna Kajsa Eliason, who had immigrated to North Dakota from Sweden in 1908. Guldrid’s teachers in the public schools in North Dakota couldn’t pronounce her name, so she thereafter became known as “Goldie.” Goldie’s brother and twin sisters were born while the family lived in North Dakota. Anna died in childbirth and the twins were placed with different Swedish families in the neighborhood. Goldie began a teaching career in North Dakota in a one-room schoolhouse. She married Jay Rogers in 1939 and the couple had two boys, Tim and Tom. During the war she worked as a welder’s helper in the shipyards.
From 1954 to 1974, Goldie taught second grade in the Corvallis School District. She retired from teaching in 1974. During her retirement, Goldie took piano lessons from Joan Gathercoal and developed a passion for composing songs. “It changed my life,” she once said to a newspaper reporter. “I understand music.” In 1994, she published a book of thirteen songs entitled Goldie’s Songs, for which she composed the words and music.
Gardening was another of Goldie’s passion. She was known to redesign her landscape, moving plants so frequently that the neighbors have dubbed her a player of “musical shrubs.” Goldie envisioned most of her songs as she gardened. “Between gardening and music, I don’t know which I like better. They are very compatible,” she once stated in an interview. She approached both with “tranquil concentration.” Goldie’s love of music composition and her wish to encourage young composers prompted her to establish the Goldie Rogers Composition Award Fund. The fund benefits the Linn-Benton District of Oregon Music Teachers Association (OMTA) to help support their awards to music students ages five to eighteen.
Goldie Rogers, died at the age of 98, at Corvallis Manor Monday, February 15th, 2010.