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Raymond ‘Bud’ Rose has many interesting stories to tell

February 21, 2018
By KENDALL NYGARD - Special to The Eagle , Pine Island Eagle

You never know who you'll meet at the Pine Island Community Pool. In early February, a friendly and charming World War II veteran introduced himself to a small group of frequent pool visitors.

"I'm going to be 97 years old soon," said Raymond "Bud" Rose. "And I'm not doing so bad even though I was shot in the chest in World War II."

After a series of questions and answers, we knew Bud of Meade, Mich., had many stories to tell and he deserved a wider audience to share them with before he departs Pine Island in early March.

Article Photos

Raymond “Bud” Rose

This is Bud's third time visiting Pine Island for three months and he is the guest of Joe and Sally Goike of Bokeelia. Bud was married for 73 years to the love of his life, Mary, and they have one daughter. Before she passed away, Mary asked Bud several times to be strong for her. He honored her wishes then and continues to do so today by being strong in spirit, health and living life to the fullest.

Bud drives from Michigan to Kenosha, Wis., to go fishing. It's more than a 5-hour one-way trip. He loves fishing. He hit a fire hydrant a couple of years ago and totaled his brand new Jeep. He says insurance premiums are pretty high when you are 96 years old.

He was born in 1921 in Hong Kong. His father was a doctor and moved out of the United States to avoid serving in World War I. Bud and his family moved to Peoria, Ill., when he was 5 years old. He subsequently lived in Asheville, N.C., and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His father abandoned Bud, his mother and six sisters, twice. Bud became the head of the household at a very young age. Bud was 14 years old when the family was deported from Canada to the United States and they settled in Detroit, Mich. (Side note: While proofreading this story, my husband jokingly noted they must not have had the Canadian border wall built back then.)

"I have worked hard all of my life and never accepted aid," Bud said. "I worked during the day and went to night school to learn sheet metal layout so I could build aircraft."

He married Mary when he was 18 years old, shortly after he joined the Army and he was shipped to Camp Blanding near Starke, Fla. Following training, he was sent to New York City to board the Queen Elizabeth and then to Gourock, Scotland.

The vessel had been refitted as a troopship and carried Bud and 750,000 troops from various countries to and from war zones across the globe.

"At night there was no light allowed on the deck, not even cigarettes," Bud recounted. "We needed to avoid detection by the German U boats."

Because he scored high on sharp shooter tests, Bud became one of four soldiers assigned to a gunnery team. They took turns as ammunition holders and gunners. As a member of the 28th Infantry Division, Bud landed on Normandy Beach in July 1944. A little more than a month later they liberated Paris in late August.

There was no rest for the weary and they soon moved on to take over Luxembourg on Sept.7 and became the first Allied division to breach German soil soon after. The division was then assigned to take over Schmidt, Germany, and fortunately saw little action in Belgium.

Bud's active duty ended when he was shot and the bullet broke his collarbone at the Battle of the Bulge. His wound became infected and he spent 14 months recovering, mostly in Spokane, Wash.

Bud went on to a 34-year-long career as a sausage maker, has bought and sold real estate and owned a hardware store.

Bud's memory is superb and his wife Mary is at the forefront of his thoughts. "I miss her more than anything in the world." He referenced how good the "man above" has been to him throughout his life several times. Bud credits his lifelong athleticism as one of the reasons he remains spry and healthy. In addition to swimming, Bud golfs three times per week.

Bud met Joe Goike, a Vietnam Veteran, at Willie's Donuts in Macombe, Mich., and says, "Joe is the greatest guy ever. And when you go into Willie's, pretty much everyone will know who Bud is." The Goikes take Bud wherever he needs to go while on Pine Island and his favorite meal is a half rack of ribs at the Sandy Hook and he described them as the "best damn ribs ever."

Other than Michigan and Florida, Bud said Spokane is where he'd like to spend more time because "you can throw snowballs but it doesn't get too cold."

While we don't have snowballs for Bud to throw on Pine Island, we do have a pool and a friendly community that welcomes visitors and provides a way get to know each other sometimes in ways deeper than one can imagine.

If you'd like to spend time with Bud before he heads up north, you can catch him at Alden Pines Golf Course every morning at 7 until early March.



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