Roger Thomas Kalinowski, 72, of Fargo, ND, peacefully passed away on January 23, 2019 in hospice care at Bethany Retirement Living.
Roger was born on April 20, 1946 to Theresa and Lawrence Kalinowski in Devils Lake, ND. He attended Devils Lake Central High School and graduated in 1964. Following high school, he attended Lake Region Junior College, North Dakota State University, Moorhead State University, and ultimately Minot State University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Roger then earned his Master’s degree in Education at the University of North Dakota. Throughout his life, Roger held various licenses in Literature, Writing, Communication, and Theatre.
Roger taught at Minot High School in ND before he was drafted into the Military during the Vietnam conflict. From 1969 – 1971, he was stationed in Berlin, Germany where he served as Military Police, guarding the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. He also held the position of Entertainment Specialist, using his skills in theater and communication. After his military service, Roger taught at Wahpeton Senior High School for the next 38 years. During his time there, he taught English, Speech, and Theatre and directed numerous plays and musicals.
In 1974, while teaching in Wahpeton, Roger was hired to direct the summer production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ at Fort Totten Little Theater. He hired Karen Christensen from Edmore, ND to be the music director. They wed on August 26, 1974 in St. Joseph Catholic Church in Devils Lake. Their family grew with the arrival of their sons Matthew in 1977 and Benjamin in 1979.
With Karen, Roger lived a fulfilled life of teaching school and directing community and summer theaters throughout ND in Fort Totten, Lamoure County, Valley City, Wahpeton, Wyndmere, and Fargo. In 2001, he was invited to the join the faculty of the Institute for Readers Theater and taught RT in London, Toronto, and Chicago. Throughout his career, Roger received numerous awards and recognitions, including Hall of Fame membership into the Communication, Speech and Theatre Association of North Dakota.
Roger is survived by his wife of 44 years, Karen (Christensen) Kalinowski of Fargo ND; two sons, Matthew Lawrence (Stephanie) Kalinowski of Christine, ND, and Benjamin Carl (Gina) Kalinowski of Bellevue, NE; two grandsons, Tanner Carl Kalinowski and Tyler Roger Kalinowski of Bellevue, NE; one sister, Janet Marie (Kalinowski) Drake of Fargo, ND; three nephews, Jason Drake of Fargo, ND, Justin Drake of Fargo, ND, and Joshua Drake of Fargo, ND.
Roger was preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence Vincent Kalinowski and Theresa Mae (Ryan) Kalinowski; grandparents, August Kalinowski and Theresa (Hill) Kalinowski, and Joseph Ryan and Emma (Ziebarth) Ryan.
Roger bequeathed his body to the University of North Dakota School of Medicine.
A Celebration of Roger’s Life will be held at Calvary United Methodist Church, 4575 45th St. S, Fargo, ND 58104 on Friday, March 15th, 2019 at 7:00 pm.