Roger F. Conover was born in 1926 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. He grew up in Essex Fells and then Montclair and went to public schools. He attended the U.S. Military Academy from 1944 to 1948. While at West Point, he pitched on the baseball team. After graduation, he went into the Army Corps of Engineers for six years. After stateside training, he served with U.S. forces in Austria, at Fort Lewis in Washington, and then in the Korean War. From March 1953 to July 1954, he served in Korea in the 14th Engineer Combat Battalion maintaining highways in the sector of the 1st British Commonwealth Division. After his service, he went to work at Bell Laboratories, where he spent his entire career working in a variety of management positions.

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