Bill Rose donated more than 100 pieces of art painted by his late wife, Carol Rose, to benefit Committed Alliance to Strays in Medford. C.A.T.S. is seeking a place to display the artwork by Rose, a former Crater High School teacher. - Jamie Lusch

Artist's legacy has nine lives

After spending much of his married life helping his late wife, Carol Rose, find homes for stray cats, Medford retiree Bill Rose is hoping the Committed Alliance to Strays can help find homes for his wife's beloved works of art.

Rose recently donated more than 100 of his wife's paintings — her other passion — to the organization to help fund its efforts to find homes for stray and abandoned cats.

The paintings were displayed at a temporary gallery in downtown Medford last week, and C.A.T.S. volunteers are hoping for a new, longer-term spot for what volunteer Jan Whetstone, a former director of the facility, says is a sorely needed revenue source.

Carol Rose, a longtime art teacher and bus driver for local schools, lost her battle with cancer in 2011. Before her death, Bill Rose said, he and Carol spent years helping strays after discovering large populations of homeless cats along the Bear Creek Greenway.

Carol Rose taught in Klamath Falls, Denver and at Crater High in Central Point. Rose said his wife was a true nurturer, whether with students or animals.

"She was a real, little mother hen. She had a lot of fun. When she drove bus, she had kids from kindergarten to high school. She drove bus after she stopped teaching because she didn't want to be away from the kids," he said.

"In the evenings, we would ride our bikes on bike paths, and we noticed an awful lot of stray cats along the creek, so we started feeding them and eventually picking them up and ... to find homes for them.

"We would have a couple dozen at a time at our house," he added, noting that the C.A.T.S. facility had a big hand in helping increase the number of cats the couple was able to help.

Well into retirement, Rose lives in Medford with three cats ranging in age from 12 to 15 that are left over from the couple's feline rescue days.

Whetstone said Rose's donation may enable the facility, struggling with reduced budgets and a lagging economy, to keep its doors open and continue to help the animals that find their way to the Ross Lane facility.

"We knew we were running out of time at the gallery downtown, so we've been keeping our eyes open for another place to put the paintings," she said.

"We were stymied a little by trying to find a place to put the artwork, but we're hoping to put some of it online, and we're hoping someone might have another place we could have it on display. It doesn't need to be some place too permanent, but maybe someplace we could just have a little more time for people to see it."

Whetstone, who never met Carol Rose, said Rose's artwork had an immediate impact on her the first time she saw it.

"When he brought some of her artwork down to share, I was just mesmerized by it. We're very touched he would want to donate that to help C.A.T.S. I think his wife would be very happy."

Rose agreed.

"She would be just as happy as could be. She knew I couldn't keep a lot of cats here. I told her years ago that we were getting older and had to quit, but this is another way I'm able to help what they're doing there," he said.

"People can get some of her artwork for a lot less than what she sold it for, and it will go to help C.A.T.S. do some good work in finding homes for these cats. I hope they can find a place to put it so it can do them some good."

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at

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