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First Name: James

Last Name: Rose

Birthplace: Limestone County, AL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: U.S. Army Air Forces (1941 - 1947)

Middle Name: Bascom

Date of Birth: 12 September 1922

Date of Death: 30 October 1989

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served:
James Bascom Rose, Jr.

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


James Bascom Rose, Jr.
Private First Class, U. S. Army Air Forces
World War II

The Early Years

James Bascom Rose Jr. was born on 12 September 1922. He was the youngest of eight children, and the only surviving boy, of James and Flora Casteel Rose. He was born and raised in the Coxey community of Limestone County, which is about 12 miles west of Athens, AL, on what was then known as Florence highway, now referred to as Highway 72. (James passed away of a massive heart attack while serving his community as a volunteer fireman and putting out a field grass fire at the intersection of Seven Mile Post Road and that very same Highway 72.)

According to his sisters, James was treasured by them because he was the only boy, and he was slightly pampered. He and his sisters were raised by very poor, but stern parents. His father was a very well-respected man in the community that set high standards for his children. He brought them up in the nearby Mt. Carmel Church of Christ. He also was a lawman for the Limestone County Sheriff's department.

Military Service

James was in the U. S. Army Air Forces during World War II and had a health problem that kept him out of combat. He served as an MP in Nashville, TN. He married Thelma Allene Mangrum on 14 March 1944 in the city where they met, Nashville.

Post-Military Life

James and Thelma eventually moved to Coxey and went on to raise four boys. James was very hard working and ingenious. He quit high school before graduating to join the military but went on to self-educate himself to be an excellent electrician and a man of all-around talents.

Most of his occupational career was spent working for NASA at the missile engine testing site at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL during the Mercury and Apollo programs and the beginning of the space shuttle era. His family watched in amazement, the incredible event of the first man on the moon unfold as Neal Armstrong stepped foot off that ladder, all the while knowing they were sitting next to one of the thousands of people that had a hand in making perhaps the most monumental moment in history. In his final stages with the space agency, he worked as a scuba diver in the neutral buoyancy tank helping with the training of astronauts, which he dearly loved.

Dad meant so much to me but none as much as being my best friend. His passing probably affected me more than any other event in my life. I felt like a part of me left with him. The glue that held our family together for gatherings during the holidays and other times had fallen. We had gatherings for a few years after he died but it just wasn't the same. I guess the thing that I missed the most was the closeness that he had with my children.

James' family deeply appreciates the good name and legacy their dad (and grandfather) left them in their community. After James retired from the space agency, he essentially became a full time volunteer to his fellow man. For many years after retirement, he served in the rescue squad; fire department; and Red Cross. He also took care of the cemetery in which he is now buried. He also did electrical work, carpentry, plumbing, and many other deeds for his neighbors in the community, while almost always refusing payment.

James had a way with young boys that appealed to their sense of adventure. He loved the outdoors and thereby made a tremendous Boy Scout master for years when his sons were young. His sons fondly remember going on hiking trips in the Smokey Mountains with him and camping out in the mountains. That was his element his sons like to think that they might find him one day, passing on the trail in the cool air of the mountains that he dearly loved.

Death and Burial

Private First Class James Bascom Rose Jr. died of a massive heart attack on 30 October 1989. He is buried in Dement Cemetery in Athens, AL.

James was survived by his wife, Thelma (died 21 September 2005); his four sons, Neal; George Michael, Julian Wayne, and Paul Edward "Jack" and their families.

Honoree ID: 2197   Created by: MHOH




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