Loudoun County lost a champion for youth sports Jan. 24. Don Rose, youth sports activist and the Loudoun Times-Mirror’s Citizen of the Year for 2003, passed away. The Purcellville resident was 74.
Rose grew up on a family farm in Marshall, Va. Participating in athletics himself when chores allowed, he recalled having to hitchhike to practice before the age of carpools and activity buses.
As he grew older, Rose found the time to devote himself to youth athletics, something he felt at least partially left out of when he was younger.
Speaking to the Times-Mirror in 2004, he said, “I enjoyed playing sports and always wanted to make it easier on kids like me who wanted to play sports. And I think kids need [sports] more nowadays because they have more free time.”
And free time was something Rose fought. Family members said that he was always on the go and ready to go out and find a new challenge.
Rose was regularly recognized for time he spent coaching, from basketball to football to baseball. In 2003, the local Babe Ruth World Series team rechristened themselves in his honor as the Don Rose Lions. Part of the strength of the organization came from his ability to recruit new volunteers for the organization where he also served as state commissioner.
Coaching up until 2012, he was eventually able to coach his own grandchildren.
Youth sports wasn’t his only contribution to Loudoun. He also worked closely with the Purcellville Rotary with their Christmas in April project and in restoring homes for the elderly and installing ramps or access for those in need.
His company, Leo Construction, is cited as the prime mover in the improvements at Fireman’s Field. And he donated scoreboards, playing fields and lights to schools throughout the county.
Former Board of Supervisors chair Dale Polen Myers said of him in a prior article, “He’s very much into the kids understanding the importance of sportsmanship. He reminds them that all the players are important to the team … When all of us are looking for a hero, he’s the one we should look to.”
Rose is survived by four children, nine stepchildren and eight grandchildren.
Services for Rose were held Jan. 30 at Purcellville Baptist Church with interment at Upperville’s Ivy Hill Cemetery. The family suggests donations to the Greater Loudoun Babe Ruth organization or the Lower Loudoun Boys Football League.
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