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October 22, 2012

A rose blooms in Downtown London

Building dedicated to banker-businessman-philanthropist Jim Rose

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble, Staff Writer

When James Lawrence “Jim” Rose owned what was London Bank and Trust, he bought property on Main Street to expand the growing business. That was in 1987, and a year later, the bank moved into the new building.

The building’s current owners returned the favor Thursday, naming the structure after the banker, coal operator, businessman and philanthropist, who died last year.

They did so at a dedication, which featured remarks from his friends, co-workers and 5th District Congressman Hal Rogers. It ended with a ribbon cutting by his widow Judy, to officially call the structure “The James L. Rose Building.”

“He was a man with vision. He was interested in underprivileged children, a leader in the coal industry, and a man who had dreams and made them a reality,” said Rev. Jerry Brown, minister of the Mount Zion Church of Christ in London, and president of the Scott Rose Foundation. The foundation was set up by Jim Rose in honor of his son Scott, who died in 1983.

Brown was one of the speakers at the dedication, and spoke of his friend left for others.

“Jim Rose left a legacy. Together, Jim and his wife were a team. And I’m not talking about material goods, or stocks and bonds, or buildings. He left a legacy of success. That success could be achieved through honesty,” Brown added.

Former London Bank and Trust president and former Laurel County Judge-Executive Lawrence Kuhl emceed the event, which also featured Ernest Matt House, who once worked for Rose. Both Ernest and his wife Kim Ryser House are the building’s present owners.

Ernest House noted, “All of us were blessed by knowing Jim. I was one of them. He was a great friend. He once told me, ‘To have a lot of friends, you have to be a good friend.’ And he was a cheerful giver. … Kim and I talked once, and I said to her, ‘I really would like to name this building after Jim.’ She agreed.”

Congressman Rogers recalled his friend, who he called “A Clay County boy who made London his home.”

“There have been very few people in Eastern and Southern Kentucky who have been more successful than Jim Rose. I’ve counted Jim Rose as one of my best friends, mentors and advisors. … What a giant. And there’s a great void on top of the mountain where he once stood. I know he’s listening.”

One minister who spoke told the audience Rose was a gifted man, in many ways.

“Jim’s piano playing will best be remembered as accompanying his wife Judy’s magnificent voice. He will also be known as a gifted builder. And he was willing to share those gifts to others. He also had a wonderful gift of humility. He was a gift to us all,” said Dr. Terry Lester, the Pastor of First Baptist Church of London.

Judy Rose joined the speakers and other dignitaries for the ribbon cutting, which she was given the honor to to so, with a large pair of scissors. After the dedication, many in the crowd took a tour of the building, which featured a plaque honoring the dedication and her late husband’s achievements.

Mrs. Rose pointed out afterwards her late husband always wanted her input on decisions made.

“We were joined at the hip. … Jim was such a wonderful man. He wouldn’t want this recognition. But we and the family rare honored that all of our here today. … We were married 50 years, and in those years he never said an unkind word to me. He had one flaw. He thought I was the smartest woman he knew,” she said, smiling.

Located at 400 South Main Street in London, the structure houses the main location of PNC Bank and other businesses, organizations and individuals, including London Medical Properties, LLC and Appalachian HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas) program.

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