ASHEVILLE-William C. Rousse, Brigadier General, U.S. Army, retired, age 84, was called to his new home in Heaven on March 21, 2014 after a courageous battle with cancer. His beloved wife Marian (Mimi) lovingly cared for him as only she could throughout the battle. In addition to his wife, other surviving family members are his son Curt, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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"The General" as he was known by the many, who loved him deeply, grew up in Miami, Florida. He was determined to be the first one in his family to earn a college degree and in 1947 with $70 in his pocket he enrolled at the University of Florida; later during his Army career he earned a Masters Degree in business.
Bill joined the U. S. Army in 1951 as a Private First Class. When he retired in 1977, he held the rank of Brigadier General and was directly responsible to manage and direct all manpower and financial matters for the army's largest overseas operation, comprising of 183,000 troops.
He considered his greatest military honor and achievement in being selected to lead the very first air cavalry squadron (AirCav) in the U.S. Army, the 1st Squadron, Ninth Cavalry. This unit's combat mission was aerial reconnaissance to locate the enemy units to be engaged with the combat power of two Army divisions and two Marine Divisions assigned to "I" Corps in the Northern sector of South Vietnam. Bill helped study and lead a new approach for the use of helicopters in combat.
William Rousse was highly decorated during his military service, including Legion of Merit (3 awards) Distinguished Flying Cross (2 awards), Air Medal (26 awards), and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry-Gold Palm.
Upon completion of his military career in 1977, he joined The Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the State of Florida as a State Cabinet member. After several years he was involved in the citrus industry as COO of American Agronomics and retired in 1987.
"The General" was an active member of Arden Presbyterian Church. Those who met Bill were struck by his kindness and humility. Everybody wanted just a little time with "The General". He always had a positive outlook and word to bring to each situation. He was a source of inspiration and encouragement. His loss will be deeply felt.
He met his beloved and precious wife, Marian (Mimi) at their Miami Senior High 50th reunion in 1997. They traveled for many years in their motor homes, visiting every state in the nation and Canada.
Visitation is at Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian, 72 Long Shoals Road, Arden, Friday evening, March 28 between 7 pm and 9 pm.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 29 at 2 pm at Arden Presbyterian Church, 2215 Hendersonville Road, Arden, NC. Interment with military rites will be held at 12 noon on Monday, March 31 at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain.
The family requests in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the "Bill Rousse Landscape Beautification Fund" at Givens Estates. Located at the Oxford Commons Meadow area. Bill loved his country and our nations flag. This tribute will create a beautiful area for reflection under the flag he loved so dearly. Send your tax-deductible gift to "Givens Estates Rousse Memorial. 2360 Sweeten Creek Rd. Asheville NC 28803.
Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
1401 Patton Avenue Asheville, NC 28806
Published in The Times-News on Mar. 26, 2014