Idaho resident cherishes memorial portrait of fallen Greenfield great-uncle

  • This photo of a soldier, presumably Marine Pfc. Billy Rose, is part of a handmade memorial found at a tag sale in Greenfield.

  • William Rose’s name appears on the Korean War Memorial at Veterans Mall in Greenfield. Staff FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • This handmade memorial to Marine Pfc. Billy Rose, who died while serving in the Korean War, was found at a tag sale. Staff FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 5/5/2020 4:43:00 PM

Jon Winn never met his great-uncle, Marine Pfc. William “Billy” Rose, and has never been to Rose’s hometown of Greenfield, where he is buried. But the two have, at least in a sense, finally been connected in a very different Franklin County.

Rose was 19 and a member of the 7th Marine Regiment when he was killed fighting in the Korean War on March 7, 1952. He was laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery on Wisdom Way, the same street where Ronald Weeks stopped at a tag sale and found a framed memorial portrait made in honor of the young patriot. Weeks reached out to the Greenfield Recorder for help locating Rose’s family, and an article in November produced dozens of calls and emails from people across the country, including Winn in Preston, Idaho — in that state’s Franklin County.

Weeks mailed the 29¾-inch-by-21¾-inch portrait to Winn, and though some flooding issues caused by a kitchen remodel has so far prevented the memorial from being hung, Winn said he is thrilled to have a piece of his great-uncle’s legacy.

“I have the utmost respect for him and for what he gave,” he said. “I could throw (the portrait) on the wall, but I want to do it proper.”

Winn, 38, said Rose was his father’s uncle.

He mentioned his mother, Esther Griffeth Winn, died in February and while going through her belongings he found a black-and-white photograph of a flag-draped coffin. On the back it read, “Uncle Billy’s funeral.”

The portrait consists of two black-and-white photographs encased behind a glass pane with a poem, “Marines of Korea,” on the back. One of the black-and-white photographs is presumed to be of Rose in Korea; the other is likely him with a Marine friend.

Winn explained his father, Philip Winn, was born and raised in Franklin County, Mass., until he moved to the Anaheim, Calif., area with his mother. Winn said he was born in Logan, Utah, and raised in southeastern Idaho.

Winn said he has learned more about his Massachusetts relatives since the initial Recorder article was published. For example, he learned relative Raymond Gerrish of Millers Falls died in April due to complications from COVID-19. Gerrish, 70, had graduated from Greenfield High School in 1967, according to his obituary.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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