PHOTOS: Big crowd pays last respects to Marco philanthropist and ex-Marine Bill Rose

Rose died April 9 at age 83

Jim Weldon and Mike Lyon talk to the crowd about their late friend Bill Rose.

Photo by QUENTIN ROUX, Staff

Jim Weldon and Mike Lyon talk to the crowd about their late friend Bill Rose.

Stan Gober, a long-time Goodland businessman and local entertainment icon, offers his commiserations to Bill Rose's wife Myrt with a kiss.

Photo by qr

Stan Gober, a long-time Goodland businessman and local entertainment icon, offers his commiserations to Bill Rose's wife Myrt with a kiss.

Speaker Craig Woodward talks to the big gathering at the Marco Presbyterian Church.

Photo by qr

Speaker Craig Woodward talks to the big gathering at the Marco Presbyterian Church.

About 300 people converged Thursday at Marco Island Presbyterian Church to pay their respects to former Marine, aviator, businessman and philanthropist Bill Rose, who died April 9 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

The memorial service for the 83-year-old Rose was laced with respect and humor, but the various speakers’ common take on the man was that above all, he was family oriented.

Main speaker Craig Woodward said the “larger than life” Rose had left a void.

“He was a Marine who could be tough when needed,” Woodward said, “but was caring with those he befriended.”

He said it was not common knowledge that Rose was adopted as a child, something that drove his fortitude and business acumen in later life.

As for Rose’s conviviality and “people person” skills, Woodward asked rhetorically: “Who could be friends with the likes of the Chairmen of Bacardi Rum, Barnett Bank and Piper Aircraft, and also be friends with so many ordinary people?”

Woodward went on to laud Rose’s community generosity, which culminated most recently with substantial grants to the Marco Library and the Marco Historical Museum.

He also paid tribute to Rose’s wife Myrt, a character in her own right who’d regularly do wings walks on a bi-plane, and actually hired a circus to celebrate Rose’s 75th birthday.

On that occasion, Woodward recalled, Myrt Rose — dressed in a skin-colored leotard — rode an elephant in the ring.

Speaker and friend Jim Weldon spoke of his and Rose’s mutual aviation passion, and friend Mike Lyon read a poem in Rose’s honor — about philosophically facing mortality with graciousness.

Rose’s son-in-law Jim Vandenbergh described Rose as a straight shooter who’d either like someone or, if he didn’t, would let them know in no uncertain terms.

“But,” he said, “there weren’t many people he didn’t like.”

Vandenbergh also reiterated Rose’s commitment to family, saying that the octogenarian’s business acumen arose from strength within his immediate family.

The church gathering was followed by a reception at the Marco Library’s Rose Hall, with an aircraft fly-by scheduled over Rose Marco River Marina later in the afternoon.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 2

fairandbalanced writes:

Rest in Peace, Bill. Your overwhelming generosity and concern for our community will forever be remembered.

MarcoJimbo writes:

Bill's contributions to our community bring to mind the good work of another son of Scotland who gave back to the people of the town he cared so much for. The next time you're in Pittsburgh, visit the Carnegie Museum, or any of the 18 branches of the Carnegie Library. We'll never know if Bill had Andrew Carnegie in mind when he made his endowments, but I for one will always be grateful.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features