Rose was born on June 16, 1935 in Windsor, MO. Her parents Norman and Opal (Willis) Rhodes and four sisters, Norma Sowell, Ann Ferguson, June and Jane Rhodes and three brothers, Thomas, Gary and Richard Rhodes preceded her in death. She is survived her son, Mark Nolen and his wife Trina of Brooklyn Park, MN, one sister, Phyllis Montgomery of Richfield, MN , and dear friends Ira Newbill of Sedalia, MO, Jerusha White of Kansas City, MO, many nieces, nephews, and cousins, and many readers of her columns.
Rose graduated from the CC Hubbard School, Sedalia in 1952. She started her journalism career in 1983 as a columnist and staff writer for the Pettis County Local Times-News in Sedalia. In 1985, she founded her publishing company, Rosemark Communications, and wrote and published five books:
Sedalia’s Ragtime Man, the story of Scott Joplin’s Sedalia years
Lost on the Prairie: George R. Smith College for Negroes
Time Out: For Working-Class Women
African Americans Mid-Missouri’s from Pioneers to Ragtimers
Hoecakes, Hambone and All That Jazz
For ten years she was a columnist and writer for the Columbia Daily Tribune, where in 1989 she was named as the state’s best columnist by the Missouri Press Association. In 1992 she launched the Mid-Missouri Black Watch which she edited and published quarterly on African American history and culture. This earned her a guest spot on “The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour” in 1993. In 1996 she was presented with The Martin Luther King Jr. Award for her commitment to leadership, service, multicultural amity and ethical standards. Then in 2001 she received the Governor’s Humanities Award for Excellence in Community Heritage. During her career she wrote for the Columbia Missourian, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Sedalia Democrat and contributed to several other publications.
Rose was a member of Taylor Chapel United Methodist Church in Sedalia, MO. She was very active in multiple organizations over the years including the Rose M. Nolen Black History Library and Center for African-American Studies Museum. Her interests included local history, Missouri African American history and issues affecting working-class neighborhoods. Writing was her passion.
Visitation will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, January 16, 2015 at Rea Funeral Chapel, Sedalia.
Mrs. Nolen’s son, Mark, will walk with his mother’s ashes, led by police escort, at 12:30 p.m., on Saturday, January 17, 2015 from Main/Ohio, to the Rose Nolen Black History Library, 109 Lima Alley. Family and friends are welcome to line the street to pay their respects during this Escort. Upon arrival, a dedication ceremony and committal service will be held. Following the committal service, family and friends are welcome to join the procession, which will lead to Taylor Chapel United Methodist Church for a Memorial Service at 1:00 p.m. with Pastor Calvin Pritchard officiating. There will be a reception at the Rose Nolen Black History Library following the memorial service at the church.
Honorary bearers will be William Claycomb, Sedalia, MO, Marge Harlan (& the late Jerry Harlan)Sedalia, MO, Ira Newbill of Sedalia, MO, Trina Nolen, Brooklyn Park, MN, Mary McLaughlin, Evanston, IL, Phyllis Montgomery, Richfield, MN, Diane Skomers, Duluth, MN and Jerusha White, Kansas City, MO.
Memorial contributions are suggested to The Rose M. Nolen Black History Library and Center for African-American Studies Museum, Sedalia, MO, in care of Rea Funeral Chapel, Sedalia, MO.