Holiday gift keeps brother's memory alive

BY SARA REED
SaraReed@coloradoan.com

Gary Rohs wasn't quite sure what was going on when he heard an engine revving loudly outside his Fort Collins home on Christmas morning. When he went outside to check, he found a memory of his brother. Sitting in Rohs' driveway was the 1965 Corvette owned by his brother, Dave Rohs, who passed away a year ago today.

"It still hasn't sunken in," Gary Rohs said Wednesday. "More than anything, it's a memory of my brother."

Dave Rohs, who died from mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer, left the car to their father, Hank Rohs. But Hank Rohs decided his son would get more enjoyment from it.

In late October, Hank Rohs had a friend bring the Corvette to Fort Collins from Kalamazoo, Mich., where Hank Rohs and his wife, Joan, live. From then until just a few days ago, the car sat in a storage unit before the Christmas Day surprise.

"I didn't know whether he was going to laugh or cry," Hank Rohs said of his son's reaction.

Dave Rohs bought the car after he was diagnosed, specifically seeking out a 1965 because that was the year he was born, Gary Rohs said.

Gary Rohs' wife, Carol Rohs, said she was always a bit worried she was going to let something slip, even fearing that she talked in her sleep about it.

"It was a challenge," she said.

But she, their two teenage daughters and his parents pulled it off.

"I was clueless," Gary Rohs said.

It was an emotional experience for the family because it was the first Christmas they'd spent without Dave, Joan Rohs said.

"I was pretty thrilled the whole thing came off," she said.

The recent snow has kept the car in the garage, but Rohs said he's looking forward to taking the little two-seater out this summer.

Gary Rohs said he still associates the car with his brother and is a little surprised when he sees the Corvette rather than the Subaru that formerly occupied that space in the garage; but he is now warming up to the idea of having it.

"Every time I go out there, I think, 'Wow, that's pretty,'" he said.