On April 27, nearly 100 friends, colleagues, students and family members gathered at N.C. State University to honor Dr. Randy Rose at the dedication of a garden in his memory. Rose, who was an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, died in May 2006 in a car accident.
The Dr. Randy Rose Memorial Garden, part of the Toxicology Building Plaza on Centennial Campus, features four benches with inscribed plaques and new landscape plantings, including crepe myrtles behind each bench, set near a scenic waterfall pool under shade trees. The garden, intended as a tranquil gathering spot for students and faculty, is in front of the building that houses the CALS department where Rose, an internationally renowned toxicologist, taught and conducted research beneficial to human health.
His work included studies of the molecular basis of pesticide metabolism and resultant interaction in mammals and insects. Rose, who came to N.C. State in 1988 as a post-doctoral fellow, helped to found the CALS Department of Toxicology, now the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.
“As time goes on, we dwell less on our loss, and we think of the good times with our friend and colleague Randy Rose,” said Dr. Gerald LeBlanc, head of the department, who welcomed guests and shared his memories of the late 1980s, when he and Rose were both newcomers to the N.C. State faculty. “We relied upon each other and learned from each other, and it was such a valuable experience for me. Randy had an incredible compass. Those of us who knew Randy knew the goodness he had.”
Rose’s former student, Dr. Ed Croom, who also worked in Rose’s lab, recalled him as a scientist, teacher and boss, who “spent a lot of time making courses understandable.”
And Dr. Andrew Wallace, assistant professor of environmental and molecular toxicology, talked about the significance of his colleague’s studies of the toxicology of agricultural chemicals, research critical to farm worker health.
“He was dedicated to his disciplines of toxicology and entomology,” said Wallace, who also spoke about Rose’s many interests, including birds, beekeeping and working with the Boy Scouts. “This memorial represents Randy’s values: The benches, the trees for shade, where people can gather, all speak to Randy’s core values of community.”
LeBlanc acknowledged the work of Julia Storm, agromedicine information specialist in the department, who chaired the memorial committee and led efforts to fund and build the memorial garden. Storm, for her part, thanked landscape project manager Lynn Swank of the university design and construction services office. The garden was made possible by donations from many alumni, friends and members of Toxicology, she said, as well as a grant from Pi Alpha Xi-Iota Chapter, the horticulture honor society.
Storm then presented a gift of framed and inscribed photographs of the garden to Randy Rose’s wife, Eileen Rose, and to two of their five children, Karen and Brian, and baby granddaughter, Addison.
“I’m grateful to have this place to remember Randy and his accomplishments,” said Eileen Rose. Taking the podium, she directed attention to Addison, noting that “she has her grandpa’s eyes.”
Rose then talked about her husband’s youth in Utah, where his father was a 4-H agent. Randy’s interest in beekeeping became useful to his father, who would take the boy along when extension work required collecting and identifying bees. “He stood me up for our first date because he was collecting bees!” she told the audience.
His love for the outdoors inspired his teaching work with the Boy Scouts, in which their four sons were active. “The last conversation we had, he called me from here with a question about our boys’ Eagle Scout project,” she said.
That project was the building of an elementary school playground, which her sons completed the summer after their father passed away. “Now this garden is a nice and comfortable place to go enjoy the quiet,” she said.
Randy Rose came to N.C. State in 1988 to work with Dr. Ernest Hodgson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, who also spoke at the dedication. “We should remember we are celebrating Randy’s life and dedicating a memorial to his life,” Hodgson said. “When we lost Randy, his family lost a dedicated father and husband. I lost a very close friend and the ideal collaborator. He understood that toxicology is a science that exists in the public welfare.”
Hodgson then shared lines from Robert Binyon’s “For the Fallen” that he adapted for the occasion: “[He] shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary [him], nor the years condemn./At the going down of the sun and in the morning/We will remember [him].” – Terri Leith