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Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee

Excerpt from Hall of Fame Induction ProgramWaldo Bennett Rose

Lima Senior High School Class of 1957

Ben Rose is a 1957 graduate of Lima Senior High School, and he has amassed an admirable public service record. Presently, he is the Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Health.

Ben’s parents, Waldo and Helen, were teachers at South High School in the 1920s and his mother taught at South Junior High School in the 1950s and 1960s. Ben was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and grew up in Lima, his parents’ hometown, where he attended Lowell, Central, and Lima Senior. During his Lima school career, Ben was active in band, orchestra, choir, drama, Hi-Y, and football. He was president of the Student Council at Lima Senior during his senior year.

Ben is a graduate of Princeton University and The Ohio State University College of Law. Between college and law school Ben served five years active duty as a regular Navy officer on an Atlantic fleet destroyer and later in Vietnam where he won the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for valor in his leadership of a boat unit which conducted river patrols and landed, covered and extracted Navy SEAL teams and Marine Corps reconnaissance units. During law school, Ben authored a classified study (declassified in 1990) of Vietnam river patrol and ambush support operations and served a temporary three-month active duty assignment as riverine warfare desk officer on the Pentagon staff of the Chief of Naval Operations.

A private practice was started in Lima in 1969, and Ben also served as a Lima City prosecutor from 1970 to 1972. He represented Allen County in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1973 through 1986 and served as Assistant House Minority Leader from 1981 through 1986. During his legislative career Ben focused much of his attention on stage budget matters, school finance, mass transportation, tax reform, ethics reform, and economic development issues. On the basis of polls of legislators, news reporters, and statehouse observers, Columbus Monthly magazine named Ben one of Ohio’s “best legislators” in 1978, 1980, 1982, and 1984.

Ben served in the Bush administration from 1990 to 1993 as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment. Currently as Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Health, Ben oversees the administration of the department’s 1500 employees and $320 million annual budget.

Ben and his wife Nancy, a 1961 Lima Senior graduate, are both active in community activities and are both church and choir members of Lima’s Trinity United Methodist Church. In 1987 they served as co-chairmen of the Allen County Health Board levy campaign. Ben also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ohio-West Virginia YMCA and as vice chairman of the YMCA’s Ohio Youth and Government Committee.