Leroy Herman Rose, 96, a previous longtime resident of Washington State, passed away peacefully February 6, 2023, in his home in Las Vegas, Nevada with his son Lee Jr by his side.
After having just visited with all his sons, he unfortunately sustained a broken hip after a fall on Feb 2nd. The hip was determined to be unrepairable due to his age, however it was his broken heart which sadly took him, due to the loss, only 4 months earlier, of his bride of 74 years, Joan (Lagorio) Rose.
Lee was born in Escanaba, Michigan on December 11, 1926 to Frank and Eleanor Rose. The family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he graduated from St. Johns High School. He and his brother Jim were avid outdoorsmen, and spent countless hours fishing, camping and hunting. He also trapped muskrat. Lee also was a very skilled woodworker and was very proud of his artful waterfowl carvings made from a wide variety of wood types, including ebony.
As an accomplished woodworker, he was among a group of Industrial Art students chosen by staff for the war department to make scale models of all the fighter and bomber planes deployed. These were used as training aids in military flight schools during World War II.
After graduating from high school in 1944, he attended the University of Minnesota, while still enrolled in the Navy ROTC Program; which put him in flight school training in Dickinson, Montana. Here is where he roomed with Rolf Rasmussen who had a high school portrait of Joan Lagorio on his dresser. Lee, taken by her beauty, inquired about her and was told by Rolf, although he was dating her, his parents could not condone a marriage to a non-Lutheran. Lee promptly got permission to write to her, and the rest is history. Lee graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Joan and Lee married on December 28, 1948.
After graduating from college, Lee went to work for his one and only employer of 36 years, General Electric. His first assignment was at the GE Turbine Division in Schenectady, New York. While there, he worked under Gerhard Neumann, testing the world’s first axial flow compressor jet engine. During this time, Lee and Joan gave birth to their first two sons, Lee Jr. and Dan.
In 1954, GE transferred Lee to Chicago, Illinois where he worked for the GE Lighting Division. This is where he had one of his greatest accomplishments as a Sales Engineer. Due to a residential city ordinance, Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, was one of two Major League Parks, that did not have lighting for night games. In 1988, the ordinance was dropped, and history was made, when Lee won the contract to light Wrigley Field!
During the time in Chicago, the family lived in the suburb of Park Forest long enough to bring three more Roses into the world: Melanie, Stephen, and Jonathan. Family vacations included Ralph’s Pine Crest Resort in Wisconsin, where the family would enjoy fishing, swimming and barbecues every summer. Amazing memories for us all!
In 1964, GE transferred Lee to Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked with more sophisticated equipment and apparatus, such as Power Plant Switch-Gear and Distribution. While living in Cleveland, he became active in boating on Lake Erie, along with other boating and canoeing adventures. This led Lee to his greatest pastime, fishing. His game fish of choice was Walleye, and Lake Erie was the “Go-to Lake” for these great frying pan fish.
One of the more memorable adventures was a canoe trip on the French River in Central Ontario. Lee’s handpicked companions were his two sons, Lee Jr, Dan, and Lee Jr.’s good friend and trapping buddy, Frank Speidel. It was a tremendous adventure in the wilderness. A rocky island was chosen for the campsite, and was also used to jump off into the water below. One of Lee’s favorite stories to tell was when he and Dan followed Lee Jr and Frank in separate canoes on the French River; while going through a narrow passage Lee’s canoe caught the bank and turned sideways, spilling the contents into the fast moving current. All the fishing gear floated for a short time, along with two frightened passengers bobbing in life jackets in the frigid water. All this passed, and a short time later they were all back on the water, a few fishing lures short.
Another of Lee’s passions was getting his boys into the Cub Scouts. There were many Cub Scout meetings at home. His wife Joan would oversee all the qualification tasks the pack would complete to earn the next badge. In one meeting at the scout lodge, Lee appeared in a cloud of flash powder smoke as “The Great Chief Tecumseh,” (suffering first degree burns on his ankles and feet, certainly helped him let out quite the war cry!)
In 1968, GE promoted Lee to International Sales of Switch-Gear. He was tasked with setting up Distributors in many countries around the world, mostly for existing Power Plants, but also for presenting proposals to Government Officials to build steam and hydro generated power plants. This required Lee to move his family to Norwalk, Connecticut, where he commuted daily on the train to his office in New York city. After a few years, he decided to build their dream home, and picked rural Wilton, Connecticut as their new home location.
After retiring from GE after 36 years, he decided it was time for he and Joan to move back to Minnesota, and build a cabin on Farm Island Lake where his mother and brother also had cabins. The original lake cabin plans soon expanded into a sprawling multi-bedroom lake home where they hosted the famous 1982 family reunion. This Farm Island Lake location was one of the last sandy beach locations available on the lake, and was ripe for fishing Walleye, Northern Pike, Bluegills, Perch, Crappie, Bass, and Sunfish. For the Sunfish, he would fillet and pack them into half gallon milk cartons to freeze and be ready for a fish fry anytime.
His daughter Melanie, who was disabled, had moved to Florida years before and was having difficulty raising her two adolescent daughters because of a degenerative disorder, making speech and mobility difficult. Lee and Joan sold their lake home, and bought a condo on Florida’s Intercoastal waterway. Lee’s famous words were “I bought a boat slip and the condo came with it! ” According to him, this turned out to be the number one place he ever lived. After buying a Yamaha powered Grady White boat, he joined the Grady White Boat Club and they took many excursions to ports as far south as Key West, catching Mahi along the way. Nine years later, they helped their daughter Melanie relocate to Spokane, Washington, selling their home in Florida and then moved into a condominium in Kingston, Washington; it was only a short drive to Bainbridge Island, Washington where his sons Steve and Jon lived with their families.
Lee and Joan loved living in their home in Kingston. The view off the deck overlooked Kingston Harbor where the ferryboats could be seen coming into the harbor daily from Seattle, as well as views of the Seattle Skyline including the Space-Needle. Off to the south, snowcapped Mount Rainier could be seen. Looking east, one could see the jagged Cascade Mountains.
After twenty fulfilling years, they moved to a well-established Assisted Living Facility on Bainbridge Island, Washington. This was a comfortable home for them for five years. They moved to a second Assisted Living Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, near their eldest son Lee Jr. This was the last place Lee and Joan Rose lived. From their beginning, they bought or built nine homes, with their final resting place being Wilbur, WA, where their daughter Melanie rests.
Lee is survived by his sons Lee Jr., Dan (and wife Deirdre), Steve (and wife Judy), and Jon; his brother Richard Rose (and wife Linda), his 16 nieces and nephews, 9 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren and his loving supporters, Lisa Rose and Deb Rose. He is preceded in death by his wife Joan (Lagorio) Rose, his daughter Melanie, his brother Jim Rose, his parents Frank and Eleanor Rose, and his grandson, Zachary Rose.
There will be a memorial service on April 22, 2023 at 10:00am Pacific Standard Time.
Vista Assembly of God 290 N. Melrose Dr., Vista, CA 92083, 760-724-7099.
Followed by a Celebration of Life luncheon at a Restaurant to be determined.
Please Note, for those that are unable to attend, the service will be on Facebook Live and Instagram.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the National Ataxia Foundation, www.ataxia.org
My Dad, Leroy/Lee, was special and unique. He was able to raise five children on his single income, plus retire early at 57 so he enjoyed an amazing near 40 year retirement….with the help of his General Electric pension.
He and Mom never had one argument that I recall growing up ….in front of the kids, as that was their strict policy. So we had very enjoyable childhoods. My fondest memories were from fishing and camping trips in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canada. I remember when I was around ten years or so reeling in a huge 10 lb Northern Pike with it’s long rows if super sharp teeth.
Dad was always ‘there’ for me. He had old school values…born in 1926. Ditto Mom. Which they imparted to their children.
Of the four boys, Mom, Joan, was proud that none of us had tattoos.
Learning from Melanie’s mega vitamin program for her ataxia…Joan put her and Lee on one also which they followed for over 20 years I’d estimate. This I believe extended their lives.
Two Solgar multi’s, 3000 vitamin C (3 …1000 mg tablets), vitamin B multi, flaxse ed oil ( one or two capsules) for Joan. Lee took fish oil instead. They were both healthy to the end and passed peacefully in sleep.
He dearly missed Joan…bride of 72 years. Their favorite restaurant was Olive Garden. Dad would frequently show a thumbs up when he liked something. Shortly after passing, I was visiting with my spiritualist friend, Kathleen. While talking with her, she said Leroy came by in spirit…and gave her an image of a thumbs up!
So thankful and blessed to have had such great parents!
My daughter Madison is a kind of cribbage whiz kid. One night when Uncle Roy was visiting he challenged her to a game. She won by a mile – possibly skunked him but I can’t remember- and he was was a good sport about it even though he was a top player in a Cribbage Club back home. That’s what I remember most about Uncle Roy – he was a good sport and kind man. We miss he and Joan!
True love never dies. Rest in Peace for eternity Uncle Roy with the love of your life. I will miss you both.
You and Gram were so incredibly influential thoughtful, loving and giving of your time for as long as I can remember. It’s so strange not having you both here. I have many precious memories I call upon often. Forever in my heart ❤️