Michael David Rose
April 5, 2017
MICHAEL DAVID ROSE, 75, transitioned peacefully April 2, 2017 surrounded by the sounds that gave him the greatest comfort and joy-his favorite songs and tender words of his loved ones. Michael will be lovingly remembered and deeply missed by the love of his life, Debbi Fields Rose, and his children, Matthew, Gabrielle, Morgan, Mikey, Jessica, Jenessa, Jennifer, Ashley and McKenzie. Michael's memory is also carried by his sister Rebecca "Becky" Nuber and her family, as well as his grandchildren, Elle, William, Calvin, Annabelle and Myles. He is predeceased by his parents, William and Annabel Rose, as well as his beloved son, William Maxwell Rose. At 6'6, he will be remembered by all for his giant presence, his thunderous laugh, his wonderful hugs, and his love of Aspen.
Michael was a giant of industry. He earned a degree in business administration from the University of Cincinnati and a law degree from Harvard. As a partner in a Cincinnati law firm, Michael worked directly with one of the largest franchisees of Holiday Inns. It was through this relationship that he would help turnaround Holiday Inns. Rising quickly in the company, he would eventually become Chairman of the Board and CEO of Holiday Corp, (Holiday Inns Hotels, Hampton Inns, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites, and Harrah's Casinos), which would later become Promus Companies and Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. Through his stewardship, the company became the hotel and gaming industry leader. He later went on to step in as Chairman for First Horizon National Corp during the Great Recession, fighting for the company to remain a state bank, as opposed to being sold to a nationwide conglomerate and losing its ties to the community. His illustrious career included serving as Chairman of Gaylord Entertainment, and the numerous boards he sat on, including Steinmart, Ashland Oil, Darden and General Mills where he was the longest tenured board member in the company's history until his retirement in 2016.
He was a giant in his local community of Memphis, and he carried that same passion to his favorite place on earth: Aspen. Michael felt at home in Aspen for over twenty years and was an ardent supporter of the Aspen/Pitkin County community through the Aspen Community Foundation, Challenge Aspen, and the Aspen Institute. He was not a pioneer of Aspen, but a practitioner of all it had to offer. Aspen was the place he fell in love, and his wife will continue to spread their love throughout the community.
He was a giant among family and friends. Michael loved his friends dearly and his family even more. He was quick to help when asked; often faster when he saw somebody in need. His love was often expressed by his famous hugs, using his 6'6" frame and even larger wingspan to envelope recipients like a warm blanket. As he grew older, his life work was centered around his community, his friends and always his family. When asked about legacy, Michael said his legacy for which he was most proud was and will always be his family. His family will honor his legacy through The Rose Foundation.
"I don't think I planned so much as I dreamed. Big audacious dreams that somehow turned into reality. The reality has been more fantastic than any of my dreams." — Michael D. Rose
The family will have a private service at Red Butte Cemetery. Memorial donations can be directed to the following:
The Michael D. Rose Memorial Fund
c/o Community Foundation of Greater Memphis 1900 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
http://www.cfgm.org/give-now/tribute-gifts directed to the Michael D. Rose Memorial Fund