A native of Buchanan County, Virginia, Roger Rife graduated from Hurley High School. He graduated from Emory and Henry in 1962. He went on to teach school in Buchanan County for over 40 years, along with coaching basketball and football.
He is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Appalachian College of Pharmacy, and of the Chamber of Commerce in Grundy, Virginia. He also served on the Buchanan County Board of Supervisors for twelve years, including five years as chair, and various other boards in the region including Southwest Virginia Community College, the Cumberland Plateau, and the Coalfield Coalition.
He is married to the former Suzie Ratliff, and has one son, Greg, who has continued the tradition by teaching for 18 years. Roger and Suzie also have a granddaughter and a great-granddaughter.