ROSCOE ROUSE

Obituary
  • "Rest in peace, Roscoe. Lucy G. Wells, Newport NH."

November 26, 1919 - June 21, 2014 STILLWATER Roscoe Rouse Jr., of Stillwater, Oklahoma, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Saturday, June 21, 2014, at the age of 94. Visitation and viewing will be held on Sunday, June 29th, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Strode Funeral Home in Stillwater. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Monday, June 30, at the First Baptist Church in Stillwater, with burial at Rose Hill Cemetery in Oklahoma City. Strode Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. The beloved husband, father and retired Dean of Library Services at Oklahoma State University was born in Valdosta, GA in 1919, the eighth child of Roscoe and Minnie Estelle (Corbett) Rouse. Growing up during The Depression, he developed a strong desire to earn a college education. He graduated from Valdosta High School in June, 1937, then worked as a bank bookkeeper in Valdosta. He was working for a Charleston, S.C. shipyard and trying to figure out a way to pay for a college education when World War II broke out. Roscoe entered the U.S. Army Air Corps (now the U.S. Air Force) in 1941. After several postings, he passed examinations to enter Air Corps officer flight training. Roscoe was sent to East Central State College at Ada, OK, where he earned a semester of college studies and was trained to fly a plane. While at Ada, he met a freshman co-ed, Charlie Lou Miller, who would later become his wife. He was sent to Randolph Field at San Antonio, where he qualified for any one of the three commissioned assignments on a military flight: pilot, bombardier or navigator. When asked which position he preferred, Roscoe promptly replied, "Navigator." In August 1943, he received his wings and was designated a second lieutenant with the U.S. Air Force. He was trained to fly B-17s and was stationed at the 8th Air Force's 384th Bomb Group (Heavy) at Grafton Underwood, England. During his first mission on New Year's Day, 1945, his plane lost two engines due to antiaircraft fire and Roscoe was forced to find a safe place to land. He selected Luxemburg, and despite a rough landing that ended with the plane nose-down in a plowed field, no one was seriously injured. By the time Roscoe returned to his air base three weeks later, however, his belongings had been packed up and his family was about to be notified that he was MIA. Roscoe completed a total of thirty-three missions over Germany, including another mission where he was shot down, earning the Air Medal and four Oak Leaf Clusters, each cluster representing seven missions. He married Charlie Lou Miller in Ada, Oklahoma as soon as he returned home from the war., then set about fulfilling his lifelong dream of attaining a college education. He earned a B.A. degree in Library Science from the University of Oklahoma in 1948; an M.A. from O.U. in English Literature in 1952; an M.A. in Information Services at the University of Michigan in 1958; and a Ph.D. at Michigan in 1962. In addition, he was a Grolier Scholar for a semester seminar at Rutgers University in 1956 and was inducted into the Beta Phi Mu Library Honor Society. He began a long and illustrious career in library science as the assistant librarian at Northeastern State College in Tahlequah, Okla. in 1948. He became the acting librarian and an instructor in library science, then moved to Waco, Texas, where he served as the University Librarian at Baylor University, as well as the chairman of the Department of Library Science. While at Baylor, he helped design the new library building. He developed a reputation for planning new library spaces, and was called to become the first director of libraries at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Long Island, where he built the library collection from the ground up. The University of Oklahoma invited him to be the library school's director, but Roscoe wanted to remain in academic library administration.In 1967, he became the Dean of Library Services at Oklahoma State University, a position he held for twenty years. During his tenure, Roscoe oversaw the addition of a new wing to the library and more than doubled the size of the library's collection. He was a pioneer in the computerization of libraries and worked with IBM to develop a system to catalogue books and periodicals. His innovations included helping to develop an automated inter-library loan system that allowed participating universities to access each others' collections. Roscoe was a leader of international, national and local professional associations. He was active with the International Federation of Library Associations and participated in meetings in Manila, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Munich, Moscow, Czechoslovakia, and Wales. He was elected to the Council of the American Library Association (ALA) four times, chaired numerous committees and served on ALA's Constitution and Bylaws committee. He presided at conferences, read papers, published in professional journals and contributed chapters to three volumes of The Best in Library Literature. Roscoe was president of the Oklahoma Library Association (OLA) and an early editor of Oklahoma Librarian. He chaired many committees, wrote articles and was awarded numerous honors by the association, including OLA's Distinguished Service Award and its Special Merit Award. At the Oklahoma Centennial Celebration, he was honored as a Library Legend. Roscoe was also active in the Association of College and Research Libraries, serving on the executive board, as the chairman of the university libraries section, and as the representative to the ALA conference. In addition, he was president of the University of Michigan School of Library Science Alumni Society and a recipient of that organization's Alumni Recognition Award. He also served as president of the Payne County Retired Educators' Association, the Oklahoma State University Emeriti Association, and on the Commission on Oklahoma Higher Education for the Oklahoma Historical Society. Upon his retirement, he was named to the State Library Board and later became board chairman.In addition to writing numerous papers, articles, columns and reviews, Roscoe authored two books: A History of Baylor University Library, and A History of the Oklahoma State University Library. He also served as a consultant to other libraries, including the OU Medical School Library and OBU. Roscoe's personal life was as active as his professional one. He was a member of the Stillwater Rotary Club, serving as president, chairman and member of numerous committees, Rotarian of the Year, and publication director. He served as chairman of the Board of Deacons for the Stillwater First Baptist Church. While living in New York during the 1960s, Roscoe and his wife were one of five couples who started a mission that became the Grace Baptist Church in Centereach, Long Island. Roscoe and his wife were supporters of many charitable organizations and were lifelong supporters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. In his retirement, Roscoe volunteered writing and photography services to civic and service organizations, and was such a frequent contributor to the local newspaper that he had his own byline. Roscoe's wife, Charlie Lou, was also a distinguished librarian who shared his interest in library science and administration. Together they traveled the world for both personal and professional purposes. She died last year on June 9th. Roscoe and Charlie Lou were married for 68 years and have two children: Charles Richard Rouse, an attorney in Oklahoma City, and Robin Rouse Wells, a novelist in Louisiana. They also have two grandchildren, Taylor Katherine Wells and Arden Alana Wells. Condolences may be emailed to the family and an online obituary may be viewed by visiting www.strodefh.com

Funeral Home
Strode Funeral Home
610 S Duncan St Stillwater, OK 74074
(405) 372-5550
Published in The Oklahoman on June 27, 2014
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