Rose was born in Falcon, North Carolina on July 31, 1926 to the late Magdlene Robinson Messick and John D. Messick, President Emeritus of ECU.
Most of her childhood was spent at Elon College where her father served as Dean. She was enrolled at Elon for two years. Her father assumed a position as Dean at Montclair State College in New Jersey. To be with family, she transferred and graduated at Newark State College. She received a Master’s Degree from Columbia University.
She had a love for music long before her concentration turned to the visual arts. Even though her childhood community was small, there were wonderful advantages in attending musical concerts on campus and the opportunity for private instrumental music lessons. Rose chose the violin when she was 9 years old and continued playing it through her college years with her college symphonic orchestra. Rose’s mother, a piano teacher, organized a small ensemble whereby Rose and her friends could have the opportunity to play with others. Her love of music was evident by all of the choral groups she participated in throughout her life. During her three years in Montclair, NJ, she auditioned for and was accepted to sing with the Montclair A Cappella Choir, conducted by Carl F.Mueller, a well known composer. They performed in the metropolitan area, including New York City. When Rose came to Raleigh she joined the Edenton Street United Methodist Choir and sang in it for 30 years. For several years she sang with the St. Cecelia Women’s Choral Group that eventually merged with the Raleigh Oratorio Society. On the light side, Rose loved playing her banjo ukulele. She and a couple of friends would attend small parties and entertain with humorous music. Rose returned to the south and became the first and only elementary art teacher for 13 schools in Raleigh, NC. While most people would wring their hands in despair, Rose dug in and began phase one of what is now one of the most successful art program on the eastern seaboard. She constantly begged Superintendents and lobbied School Boards for art teacher positions and gradually added to the staff. Because of the lack of art teachers in the early years, she took advantage of several local community organizations. Art appreciation programs were developed and implemented by volunteers to supplement the basic art program. Some of the programs were adopted by the NC Museum of Art to be used by schools throughout North Carolina. In addition to her heavy teaching load, she spent most evenings coaching the girls basketball team at the Methodist Orphanage in Raleigh during her early years. As the years passed, the administration gradually added elementary art positions. Rose assumed the post of a full time art supervisor. Her long range goal was to have every elementary student to have art once a week with a certified art teacher. Her dream became a reality several years before her retirement. Because of her enthusiasm for the educational process and her ability to work with all types of people, she helped hundreds of young teachers hone their classroom skills and become master teachers. Rose believed in an open door policy. Whether it was a shoulder to lean on, a request for funds, or a creative idea for lessons, a trip to her door always produced the necessary ingredient.
For the last several years of her tenure, she became the leader of all the Arts programs. She accepted this with her usual enthusiasm and went about learning all she could about all of the other arts. She was constantly designing strategies by which each discipline could be more visible to the school board as well as the community. One of the firsts for the Music program was to organize a premier concert in Memorial Auditorium with over 500 Senior High School Choral and Orchestra students participating.
Some Honors Rose received were: Junior Woman’s Club Working Woman of the Year, listed in Who’s Who in Women’s Education, Special Award for Lifelong Services given to Rose by the NC Arts Education Association, The National Art Education Association, Southeastern Regional Art Supervisor of the Year and Rose was inducted into the YWCA Academy of Women, who recognized her lifetime contribution to the Arts. She held numerous offices in the NC Arts Education Association.
Surviving Rose are her daughter, Lynn Lancaster, and husband Larry of Raleigh; her son, Bill Melvin and his children, Alexandria, Alyssa and Haley of Atlanta,Ga. Sister-in-law, Liz Messick of Wilmington; nieces and nephews, Rick, his wife Myrna; Margaret and Elizabeth Willetts, Lib Williams, her husband Chris; Melissa Messick, John D. Messick, and his wife Ashely and many beloved great and great-great nieces and nephews.
A visitation will be held Wednesday, May 8, 2013 from 6-8pm at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary’s St., Raleigh.
The funeral service will be held Thursday, May 9, 2013 at Edenton Street United Methodist Church, Raleigh. Entombment will be held at Raleigh Memorial Park
The family would like to thank Ne Ne Ekin Ogajiba for her loving care over the past 5 years.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Music Department, Edenton Street United Methodist Church, 228 W. Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27603.
Condolences may be made through www.brownwynne.com.