John Rose was born and raised in Spencer, Iowa, graduating from Spencer High School in 1965. He received his Bachelor’s degree in history from Mankato State University in 1969 and his Masters Degree in Social Studies Curriculum also from Mankato State in 1975.

His professional experience includes serving as a secondary Social Studies teacher and assistant football coach at Adair-Casey High School in Adair, Iowa, from 1969 to 1976, and at Creston High School in Creston, Iowa, from 1976 to 2004. In the 1980-81 school year, his family and he lived in Leicester, England, while he served as a Fullbright exchange teacher at Bosworth College.

He retired in 2004 and has served as a substitute teacher at Creston Community Schools since then. In 2011 he authored a football coaching book titled Developing An Effective Run Game With Zone And Gap Schemes, which was published by Coaches Choice in 2012.

His wife Lois is a retired English and Speech teacher. Their adult daughter Lauri, who is employed as a consultant by Jenny Craig, lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband Nick, who is employed at Los Alamos National Laboratories. Their adult son Edward, who is a partner in the Betty, Neuman, McMahon law firm lives in Davenport, Iowa, with his wife Kristyn and their children Sophie, Alex, and Ella.

John and Lois live in Creston, Iowa, and spend their time travelling, attending Iowa Hawkeye football games, fishing, and pheasant hunting with their Springer Spaniel Molly.