Reg Rose was born in England in 1901 and came to Canada in 1912. After serving in the Royal Canadian Volunteer Reserves, 1916-19, and taking several short-term jobs, he began working for the YMCA, serving in Calgary, Lethbridge and Edmonton as the Secretary of that organization. In 1943, he became Manager of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, and in 1946 moved to Vancouver where he became Executive Secretary of the Vancouver Board of Trade. He later became the General Manager of that body, retiring in 1967.
Reg was a member of various Rotary Clubs. He joined the Vancouver Rotary in 1946 and became President in 1957-58. In a speech he gave at the opening of International House at UBC in 1959 (much of the funding for which came from Vancouver’s Rotary), he remarked that the initial, primary motive of Rotary was fellowship: “Just getting together”.
When Reg, his wife Jean, and their family moved to Vancouver, they joined First Baptist Church, where he served as Moderator, Chair of the Deacons Board, and in many other positions. But his work for Baptists extended beyond First. He was President of the B.C. Convention of Baptist churches from 1969-70 and was an officer of the Baptist Union of Western Canada (the regional denominational body with which FBC was affiliated) for many years. Reg’s role was vital in the gradual establishment of Carey Theological College on UBC campus from its origins as merely a Baptist student residence (Carey Hall). Dr. Don Anderson’s account of the development of Carey indicates that Reg played an important diplomatic role in ensuring the development of the school.
Reg died in 2003, after a very full life of 102 years.
The topic Reg was given for his speech at the opening of International House was sweeping in scope (but strangely appropriate for the optimistic 1950s): “Can World Government Prevail in a Space Age?” In the talk, Reg argued persuasively that our world needs a wider inclusiveness in our concept of ‘neighbour’. “[W]e must lay aside that spirit of smug satisfaction which is willing to ignore the rest of the world,” he said. Such an attitude will lead to “narrowness, pettiness, and bigotry.” Indeed, he said, “Even if a group of visitors from the space world should come upon us, we shall have to get along with our next door neighbour on this earth.” That, it seems to me, sums up Reg’s message to the 1950s gathering at UBC and to our world today – much changed, to be sure, but with many of the same challenges.
– Reg Rose bio – International Rotary Website
– Reg Rose’s speech at opening of International House, 1959, UBC Archives
– “Reginald T. Rose – 100 Years.” By Ken Atkinson, FirstPEOPLE (former news magazine of FBC)
– Not By Might Nor By Power: The Story of Carey Hall 1960 to 2005. 2006. By Donald O. Anderson.
The text of this post was written originally for First Baptist Church’s 125th Anniversary (2011), as part of my series of brief biographies of former FBC members, titled ‘Who Was Who in the Pews.’ It is reproduced here with minor editorial changes.