Resident Spotlight: Rose Stange

Rose Strange

Our Beautiful Rose

The word “rose” has several meanings. It is often used as a name in a song or a poem, or, a category of flower. Generally, when we hear the name, we think of something pretty, sweet, or, romantic. To know Rose Strange is to sense the essence of sweetness, kindness and beauty of soul. No doubt her happy childhood, successful marriage of 60 years and the rearing of three wonderful children defined “the Rose” we know today-“Our Rose of Kirby Pines”.

Rose Strange (nee Scott) was born at Methodist Hospital on November 15, 1928 and spent most of her life in Memphis. The family moved to Marked Tree, Arkansas, when Rose was in the second grade and lived there for 6-7 years. Small town living and school life was different but very enjoyable. Rose sums up her childhood this way: “I had a wonderful family with a great sister and brother and a Mom and Dad who loved each other for 60 years. Our family life was always peaceful, fun and loving.

At age 5, Rose was diagnosed with polio and the family was quarantined for a period of time. Fortunately, Rose had the attention of the well-respected pediatrician, Dr. Tom Mitchell, who came to their home and taught her father how to exercise and massage the affected leg. Rose recovered fully after her father dutifully followed the instructions.

School Photo 1938-39
School Photo 1938-39

Rose graduated from Bellevue Jr. High and Central High School, then enrolled at Memphis State University. There, during her sophomore year, she met her future husband, Ralph Strange. They were married on February 25, 1949. Their first child, Diane, was followed by another daughter, Julie and a son, Ralph III. The family lived in Whitehaven for many years and according to Rose, “the children seemed to think that Southland Mall was built for them! There was always a yard full of children playing”. Her husband Ralph traveled in his work but found time to build a water fountain for them. Rose and her husband were active in the National Iris Society and were recognized for their hybridized irises. Their garden was so outstanding that visitors from the National Iris Society visited by busloads when the convention was in Memphis. They also raised and showed German Shepherd dogs. The iris gardens and the dog shows were always a family endeavor. They required “lots of hard work but were also lots of fun”.

The family moved to Arlington, Texas, for a few years and was there when President Kennedy was killed. They also lived outside Batesville, Mississippi at one time and enjoyed the country living. There, their iris garden was also a tour site for the Iris Society. However, collectively, the family lived in Memphis the majority of time. One of the most favorite things for the family to do while living in Memphis was to fish in Sardis Lake.

Rose moved to Kirby Pines in 2010, following the death of her husband Ralph in 2009. Rose said that on her first visit she knew that Kirby was her new home. The first thing Rose appreciated at Kirby Pines was the peace and quiet after a tumultuous period of medical emergencies with her husband’s illness. She says of Kirby Pines, “I love the staff and there is always something to do”.

Wedding Day February 1949
Wedding Day February 1949

Music has always been important to Rose. She took piano lessons for several years and has shared her talent by playing for Vespers and piano duets on several occasions. Also, since moving to Kirby Pines, Rose has been a member of the singing group, The Entertainers. She has this to say about the experience: “The Entertainers have been an important part of my life here. The hard work and love of music by this group always results in a good program. There is nothing like the anticipation as the curtain opens and you see the large, appreciative audience waiting.

Soon after moving to Kirby, Rose was introduced to a card game “Joker”. Thus began weekly meetings “with a great group of people and which took place no matter what!” Rose also enjoys Bingo, and other card games, reading and watching her favorite soap operas and Masterpiece Theater on WKNO.

Rose feels fortunate to have among her family, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Rose has always been active in the Methodist Church, formerly involved in the Women’s Missionary Circle and teaching young people. She is currently a member of Emmanuel Methodist Church but considers Chaplain Don and Cheryl Johnson’s ministry at Kirby Pines “close to my heart”.

To know Rose Strange is to love her. The only unkind thing to be said of her is that she, reportedly, can “be quite mean” when playing cards! When asked what the future holds for her, she replied, “I want to continue to enjoy my friends and the fun I have at Kirby Pines, but I also have a date with DeDe Scott to go fishing when we meet in Heaven”. Way to plan, Rose!

An unknown author has said, “Someone with inner beauty will live forever, like the essence of a rose”.

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines