Heaven welcomed home former long time Milton resident James V. Rosser. Coach Rosser entered the presence of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Monday, December 31st when he passed away at Emmanuel Care Center in Kennewick, Washington. Coach Rosser loved his wife dearly and blessed his sons and grandchildren by showing them that truth and character are when your word and your deed become one. One of Coach Rosser's former students and basketball players said it best. "As a coach he taught us basketball fundamentals as well as fundamentals of life such as work ethic, perseverance, sacrifice, and teamwork. He did not look for stars but for players willing to give 100%."He was born October 11, 1921 in Quality, Kentucky to the late James E. and Ora Harper Rosser. He graduated from Lewisburg High School in 1940 and enrolled in Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green where he played basketball under legendary Coach E.A. Diddle, one of the first proponents of the fast break style. In June of 1942 after the onset of WW II, Mr. Rosser enlisted and served in the 8th Air Force with the 305th bomber group stationed in Chelveston, England. As one of ten crew members on a B17 Flying Fortress he manned the radio, was a waist gunner, and was among the first to be trained in the use of radar later becoming a radar instructor. In 1945 Mr. Rosser returned to Western Kentucky and received a B.S. in Physical Education in 1947. He later received a Masters degree from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.Coach Rosser's first coaching job was at Sopchoppy High School near Tallahassee, Florida. It was there he met his wife, Bennie Maude Kennedy, a fellow teacher and they were married on November 28, 1947. He next coached at Chumuckla High School in Santa Rosa County, Florida and then in 1954 he moved to Milton, Florida to become the basketball coach at Milton High School. During his years as basketball coach he won numerous championships and was named Northwest Florida Conference Basketball Coach of the Year four times. His teams went to the State Tournament four years in a row and he received an award for 400 wins in his 18 year coaching history. But he always saw himself as a teacher first and coach second. He taught biology among other subjects and also served as Athletic Director and Assistant Principal before retiring on December 20, 1986 after 32 years of service at Milton High School. Coach Rosser was a faithful member of First Baptist Church in Milton where he taught Sunday School. Coach Rosser is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Rick and Ellen Rosser of Kennewick, Washington; son and daughter-in-law, Greg and Carolyn Rosser of Peachtree City, Georgia; six grandchildren, Storm (James) Hughes of North Bonneville, Washington, Katherine (Chad) Pettijohn of Pasco, Washington, Jo Beth and Seth Rosser of Kennewick, Washington, Jamie (Scott) Laslo of Birmingham, Alabama and Virginia Rosser of Peachtree City, Georgia; five great grandsons, Caleb and Micah Hughes of North Bonneville, Washington and Bryant, Samuel and Ian Pettijohn of Pasco, Washington; and sister Fanny Washer of Nashville, Tennessee. He was preceded in death by his wife, Bennie.A memorial service will be held for Coach Rosser 10:00 a.m. Saturday, January 5th at LEWIS FUNERAL HOME in Milton. A graveside service will follow at Banks Cemetery in Banks, Alabama. The Family requests that memorials be made to Pearl Ministries Inc. a non-profit ministry founded by Coach Rosser's granddaughter Jamie Laslo which aids orphans in Uganda, Africa. Tax deductible gifts can be sent to Pearl Ministries Inc., 100 Woodsdale Drive, Peachtree City, Georgia 30269.
Published in the Pensacola News Journal on 1/4/2008.