Former colleagues have described him as the “ultimate professional” who was also remembered as “engagingly eccentric – in the best possible way”.
Alistair Baker, who was the Sun’s news editor when Roger worked there, said: “Roger was a real traditional gentleman father of the press who had printers ink flowing through his veins.
“His passion in pursuit of getting after the facts and balancing every side for a responsible, truthful story was almost as strong as his immense pride in his family.
“Roger was a true faithful father of both the press and his family. He leaves a legacy through all those many journalists he helped to nurture over the years of his long and much respected career as well as with those he touched as a kind decent loving colleague, friend and father.”
Roger was brought up in Staffordshire, the son of former Daily Mirror editor Silvester Bolam. and completed National Service in the Royal Air Force.
He joined The Journal as a reporter in 1959, before making the move to The Times four years late.
In 1972, he returned to Newcastle and rose to become production editor on The Chronicle, before making the switch to the Sun.
He left in 1996 to take on the Herald and Post.
Marilyn Over, who was deputy chief sub-editor at The Chronicle when Roger was production editor, said: “I have very happy memories of working with Roger. He was a great colleague and a real character – kind, professional and engagingly eccentric, in the best possible way.”
After suffering a suspected fatal heart attack, Roger leaves a wife, Ann, three sons – Matthew, Mark and William – and six grandchildren.
Roger’s funeral is to be held tomorrow at St Cuthbert’s Church in Elsdon, the Northumberland village where the couple raised their family for many years.
A wake is planned in the local pub, The Bird in Bush, which will be stocking 30 different types of gin, Roger’s favourite drink, for those attending to try.
His son Matthew said: “My dad didn’t have a bad word to say about anybody and was very well-liked. He loved mixing with all the locals after work in the pub. He had no airs and graces. He also did a lot of voluntary work in the community.”