Former Police Chief Bob Rose remembered
Robert Rose, affectionately called Bobby, a descendent of one of the original European settlers on Block Island, graduate of the Block Island School, former Police Chief, and prodigious builder of some of Block Island’s most recognizable homes and buildings, has passed away at the age of 78.
The Block Island Times reached out to some of Bobby Rose’s friends for some reminiscences about a true islander.
At a recent HDC meeting Bobby had an application on a dormer at the Rose Farm Inn, and Bobby used to bring in very basic sketches, but we are obviously familiar with his work. He said, ‘It’s like the dormer on Merwin Willis’s house.” He’s looking at me like I should know what Willis this was, and all he said was “Calico Hill.” I knew exactly what he meant, which house he meant. It was just one of those moments that you know aren’t going to happen forever.
Chief Vin Carlone:
To me, he never forgot about being chief. It always meant something to him; it was service to the community. He was always deferential about his experience. I’m a professional police officer. I’d do anything for anyone, our community, our kids, but it is also the way I make my living. But for Mr. Rose it meant something much more than taking a job. I really respect the way he felt.
Bobby could always be relied on to bid on town construction jobs over the years. His last projects were the Ball O’Brien bathrooms and the Harbormaster office at the Old Harbor. He saved the day taking those on and I was very grateful.
Just a couple of things about Bobby. He and Albion Slate were doing a job someplace on the island and they needed some sand. They always went over to Coast Guard Road to get some sand. There was a new owner on the corner there as Bobby and Albion went about their business. The guy, who was new to the island, yelled at them and accused them of stealing the sand. He read them the riot act and said I'm going to call the police. When Bobby got back to the station he was told there was a complaint from Coast Guard Road. Bobby went home and showered, shaved, and cleaned up. He put on his police chief uniform and he went over to the house and rang the bell. The guy opened the door and Bobby said “Is there a problem here?” The guy shut the door and he never heard from him again.
The other time was when my mom died. It was just a day or two after she had died and Bobby drove over in in his truck. He came to give his condolences and he came to the door with a tray full of a turkey dinner — mashed potatoes, gravy, everything you could think of. We invited him to dinner. We had him to dinner, we reminisced and it was a special night. That's another side of Bobby. He made that whole dinner himself.
There are two things. I was coming up Ocean Avenue to the statue and Bobby was coming down and even though I had the right of way I stayed right there because he never stopped at a stop sign, not once.
The other thing is that one day Bobby and I were up at a classmate’s graveside service and I was looking pretty spiffy wearing marine blue, and he was really struck by that. “You’re looking pretty good,” he said, and I asked how he was doing and he said, “It’s always better to be on this side of the grass.”