William Rose, hotelier at Callater Lodge, Braemar, from 1962 until 1991, has died aged 90.
He ran the business with his late wife Jean and remained a proud, kilt-wearing resident of Braemar in his retirement.
William, known as Bill, remained a member of the Royal Highland Society until his death last month and enjoyed being a member and secretary of the Deeside Diners’ Club for many years.
Father to Duncan and Lorna, he was known for his chatty demeanour and passion for his clan tartan.
Born in Edinburgh, Bill was a twin to Lucille, and younger brother of Margaret.
The family were raised in Tullibody, Clackmannashire, where their father, William Duncan Ogilvie Rose, was the Church of Scotland minister.
Bill’s father passed away when he was just 20 and his mother, Hettie, moved the family to Alloa.
As students of Dollar Academy, his sisters showed promise in academia, but it would be Bill’s love of mechanics and engineering that would determine the course of his future.
Love during National Service
Initially working for Harland Engineering, he enrolled for National Service in 1954, serving two years with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Old Dalby, Leicestershire.
Not only did this stint south of the border see him gain extra engineering qualifications, it was here that he met his future wife, Jean.
Working as a nurse at Leicester Royal Infirmary the pair met at a dance and began courting soon after.
After some months of Bill driving between his Scottish home and England at the weekends, they married in July 1957 in Midway, Burton-on-Trent, before moving into the family home in Alloa.
The couple would have their son, Duncan, in 1958 and daughter, Lorna, in 1961.
Working as a struggling draughtsman, Bill had a growing sense of wanting to do more for, and with his young family, and saw an opportunity with tourism developing in the Highlands.
The prospect then of a new ski development in Glenshee and an old property needing some love and attention provided just the opportunity Bill longed for. In June 1962, he arrived in Braemar with Jean and the children to begin a new life at Callater Lodge.
The rural location though perfect for a hotel was less ideal when it came to electricity supply and Bill complained to the Hydro-Electric Board, making a case to improve the power supply to the village.
He was also one of the first proprietors to gain a licence to sell alcohol – until then it was only larger hotels and pubs that did so.
Always in a kilt
Despite being involved in all areas of local life, it would be his fondness for kilt-wearing that would be the thing he’d become best known for.
On January 10, 1982 Braemar reported a record low temperature of -27.2 degrees. When the BBC came to the area to film they used a clip of Bill coming out of the butcher’s shop in his usual attire with the voiceover saying: “But they’re still wearing the kilt in Braemar.”
“It was hilarious – the phone never stopped ringing. It felt like the whole world had seen dad in his kilt on TV,” Lorna added. “In truth most of my memories of dad involve him in a kilt. The whole time he ran Callater Lodge he wore it.”
The Kleeneze Man
Eventually retiring in 1991, they built a new home a short walk away from Callater Lodge.
Situated behind the Invercauld Arms Hotel – a place steeped in Jacobite history – they named their new home, The Rising.
From here Bill took on a new venture making good use of his natural sales ability, becoming known as the Kleeneze Man. Going door-to-door selling products was the goal but chatting to his friends and neighbours was what he truly loved most.
In 2016 after 59 years of marriage, Jean passed away and Bill’s fitness began to deteriorate.
On May 20, aged 90, Bill too passed away in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
“Ever influenced by my mum and her nursing, his body has been donated to medical research and we’ll eventually scatter his ashes in the garden of The Rising that he loved so much,” said Lorna.
A service of thanksgiving will be held at a date to be announced.
The family’s announcement can be read here.