Meeting – Tuesday, October 12th 2010
Edward Kirk Rose (1931-2010)
Wacky Owner of the Best Cat House in Thailand”
Present: Mrs. Malee Rose,
George Ole Olson, Bill Madden, Christopher Woodman, Jack Eisner,
Soontah, Louis Gabaude, John Cadet, Ron Emmons, Jack Hines, Oliver
Art Halbisen, Peter Freeouf.
opening speaker was Peter Freeouf who
talked about “The Life and Times of Ed Rose”. This was
followed by a PowerPoint
presentation entitled “Images from the Life of Ed Rose” by
is a summary of the evening:
former convenor of the Informal Northern
Thai Group (INTG), Edward
passed away on August 11, 2010, at McKean Hospital
in Chiang Mai,
after a long and courageous struggle with cancer. He
was 78 years old. Ed was a well-known
member of the Chiang Mai community, active in many organizations over
years. He had just recently retired from
the Faculty of Medicine at Chiang Mai
where he was an English language instructor and consultant.
evening’s program dedicated to celebrating the life of Edward
Rose is a tribute to a man of great intellect, wit and sense of humor. In short, a man for all seasons who enjoyed
the company of friends, acquaintances and strangers alike.
Edward Rose had been
a familiar figure in Chiang Mai since settling here with his Thai wife
Malee in 1983. His interests ranged from
raising animals of various types, especially pedigree Siamese and
to teaching English to Thais of all walks of life.
Ed was a man of insatiable intellectual
curiosity. He had a lifelong interest in
literature and linguistics, and spoke several languages, including
Vietnamese, Chinese, French, and Latin. He majored in science and
at university, reaching the doctoral level at Stanford University.
In addition to serving as convenor of the
Informal Northern Thai Group, Ed was active in several organizations,
Radio Amateur Society of Thailand and
the Gymkhana Club of Chiang Mai.
born on November 10, 1931
Pennsylvania, USA. He
was the firstborn of Elizabeth and Edward
Rose, both medical doctors. His mother,
Elizabeth Kirk Rose, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 106, a
in the field of medicine, was emeritus
professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania. Ed graduated in
1953 from the famous and historic American university, Dartmouth
College, in Lebanon, Connecticut.
He went on to the PhD program in mathematics at Stanford
University, in Palo Alto, California.
1967, during his doctoral work, he was
drawn to take a civilian job in Vietnam
where he applied his expertise in mathematics as a teacher, technical
researcher and systems engineer, for three years. Afterwards
he took on a job as a government
monitor for the USAID (United States Agency for International
reform program. Ed’s brother Bill
also in Vietnam
at the same time, as a civilian worker with a volunteer agency that
hospital for the Montagnard people in the Central Highlands. Ed studied Chinese at university and became
fluent in Vietnamese during his years in that country. He left Vietnam in 1975, in one of
helicopters to lift off from the roof of the American embassy in Saigon.
fallen in love with the Orient, and Southeast Asia
had become home. After leaving Vietnam
in 1975, Bangkok
became home. He was already familiar
visiting the country during his years in Vietnam.
His fluency in Vietnamese became an important
asset in assisting the American Embassy in Bangkok in processing Vietnamese
also began teaching English as a language teacher, first at the Thai Military Academy
and later for
three years at the Language Center of Chulalongkorn University.
began studying Thai at AUA (American
University Alumni Association), as soon as he arrived in Bangkok. He
became fluent in speaking,
reading and writing the Thai language. And,
he ended up marrying his Thai language teacher, Khun Malee. After
Chiang Mai, Khun Malee continued teaching Thai at Chiang Mai’s
AUA, on Ratchamankla Road,
where she still teaches.
1983, Ed’s background in USAID land
reform and development in Vietnam
led to a job with the USAID-sponsored Mae Chaem Development Project, in
which brought him and Malee to Chiang Mai.
with the Mae Chaem Project for one
year, and in 1984 began teaching at AUA in Chiang Mai, and at Chiang Mai
where he remained for three decades. At
CMU, Ed began at the Faculty of Humanities, and later moved over to the
of Medicine. He wrote for various local
journals in Chiang Mai, including the Chiang Mai Newsletter
as Chiang Mai City Life
Magazine) and the Chiang Mai Mail.
was an avid short-wave radio operator and was a life member of the
Amateur Society of Thailand and served as its secretary for the years
Malee are probably best known for their
famous Chiang Mai
a world-renowned center for the breeding and distribution of pedigree
primarily Siamese, Burmese and Korat. During
the 1980’s Ed and Malee’s cattery was considered the
country’s primary center
for breeding Siamese cats. At its
height, the cattery’s population was over 100 cats.
Their cats are known to cat-aficionados
around the world and have been featured in the Thai TV program Tarm Pai Doo, the Japanese TBS network,
a five-part BBC TV
Panasonic Company calendar, Martin Clutterbuck’s book “Siamese
Cats: Legends and Reality”, and a 1995 edition of Thai
postage stamps. The twin of the Siamese
Sealpoint featured on the 9 baht stamp was presented by the Roses to
Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain,
in 1988, during their tour of northern Thailand.
courageously struggled with cancer for
many years. Although long past the age
when many others would have already retired from their jobs, Ed
what he loved most. He did not let the
cancer stop him from either his work at Chiang Mai
University, or his
enjoyment of life.
who shared their experiences of Ed
included Thomas Baude, John Cadet, Louis Gabaude, Oliver Hargreave,
Woodman, and messages were read in absentia from Roy Hudson, Perry
Mel Tatsumi. During the telling of numerous stories about Ed’s
life it was
revealed that he felt comfortable with being referred to as
and/or ‘eccentric.’ The title “The owner of the best
cat house in Thailand”
came from one of his students who,
very excitedly and with great pride, announced in company that
“Our teacher is
the owner of the best cat house in Thailand.” She was
referring to Ed
and Malee’s cattery but the precise English term escaped her at
that moment. When
Ed was asked whether the statement was true or not he merely smiled
and said “Who knows?” Whether Ed was ‘whacky’
or ‘sane’ was often a matter of
opinion, depending on how well you knew him and your own state of
and/or sanity. One of Ed’s more recent ‘quirkier’ or
‘saner’ moments occurred not
so long ago – during the Bush administration, at the height of
French Fries and French Toast were being called Freedom Fries and
and Americans were dumping gallons of French wine down drains - Ed made
inquiries as to how difficult it would be to change his nationality and
French. He was absolutely serious but he didn’t pursue the
further because of the difficulties he was experiencing in learning the
who knew Ed could not help but be
touched by the humanity of the man. Ed Rose walked tall, with a passion
life, love of the creatures of this earth and a helping hand for all
the worth of a man’s life is valued not by one single failure or
success but by the contribution he made then Ed lived a very worthy
will be missed.
survived by his widow, Khun Malee,
and a brother, William, in Tampa,
funeral rites and cremation were
performed on August 15, 2010 at the Koh Klang Buddhist temple in Koh
south of town on the Mae
where Ed and Malee have made their home for many years.