Katie O’Reilly Rogers
Katie O’Reilly Rogers passed away peacefully in Newbury Park, CA on January 10 after an almost 9 year-long battle with brain cancer. She was surrounded by her loving family.
Katie was born October 16, 1953 in Pensacola, FL. Her father was a successful pilot in the U.S. Navy, and therefore she and her three siblings grew up all over the country: from Boston, to Monterey, to the Florida Keys. Finally, when she was 9, her father, Charles O’Reilly, was transferred to Pt. Magu and the family settled in Camarillo.
Katie attended UCSB from 1971-75. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a Math minor from the College of Creative Studies. She was one of two women to graduate from the program that year.
After a few years of traveling and working in Santa Barbara, CA, Katie decided to pursue a career in Landscape Architecture, as she found it to be the perfect combination of art and science. She soon fell in love with the subject while working for Castleberg Associates and enrolled in the Landscape Architect Certificate program at UCLA. While still working full time, Katie commuted to Los Angeles for three years to take night classes in order to finish her degree.
During that time Katie met Tom Rogers, a handsome and fun-loving local politician who also had a great love for the environment. The two fell in love and were married at the Santa Barbara Mission in May 1988. They had two daughters, Claire and Caroline. Just a few months after Claire was born, Katie decided to start her own Landscape Architecture firm and in January ‘92 the doors to The Office of Katie O’Reilly Rogers were opened.
Katie spent the next 20 years running an extremely successful business, working on projects ranging from sprawling Montecito estates to the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. She won dozens of awards for her work, including the Santa Barbara Beautiful Award for the Belmond El Encanto and was honored by the Elings Park Chairman’s Council for her work on the Singleton Pavilion. Katie continues to be honored to this day for many of the gardens she designed.
Katie wasn’t just successful on the ground. Following in her father’s footsteps, Katie got her pilot’s license and flew her family around the U.S. in her dad’s Mooney. She would even fly herself to job sites that were too far to drive to in a day.
Outside of flying, Katie loved to go SCUBA diving all over the world and enjoyed taking her daughters skiing in the Rocky Mountains. She traveled around the globe, from Tahiti to Europe to Patagonia and was known for her extensive book collection, as she never had fewer than half a dozen books on her nightstand. Katie loved to share all of her passions with her girls and gave them every opportunity to explore the world around them, just like her parents had done for her. She will forever be remembered as a brilliant, beautiful, and incredibly strong woman, and her legacy will continue to thrive.
Katie is survived by her daughters Claire and Caroline Rogers, her mother Joan O’Reilly, her aunt Bobbie Bailey, her sister Paddy O’Reilly, her brother Tim O’Reilly, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. She was predeceased by her husband Tom Rogers, her father Charles O’Reilly, and her brother Matt O’Reilly.
A funeral mass will be held Saturday, February 1st at 11am at the Santa Barbara Mission, with a reception to follow at 1pm at the Singleton Pavilion in Elings Park. All who knew and loved her are welcome to attend both events.
In lieu of flowers, Katie wished for donations to be made to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition or Grand Teton Association.