William (Bill) Ross
On Oct. 16, 2019, William (Bill) Ross, loving husband and father of two, passed away at the age of 99 years, 7 months and 2 days. Bill died peacefully in his sleep after a long decline.
Bill was born March 14, 1920 to Fred and Minnie Ross in Champaign County, Illinois. He was the sixth of seven children. The family worked hard at farming in Ohio and Illinois. Bill enlisted in the Navy in 1940 seeing action aboard Navy destroyers in the Atlantic, providing convoy duty. He was transferred to an aircraft carrier in the Pacific shortly before the end of WWII having risen in rank from a seaman to Boatswain Mate Chief. He also served during the Korean War.
In 1952 Bill and his young family transferred from Japan to Kodiak Island and fell in love immediately with the beauty and wild places around the island where he took his first bear trophy and enough beaver pelts to make a fur coat. Except for a brief tour in California, the family has called Kodiak home. Bill was an expert marksman and an accomplished gunsmith, but found he couldn’t charge people for the time it takes to do the fine work he did. He shelved gunsmithing until his “old age.” In the meantime, he took up a second career working for the teamsters as a Longshoreman and part-time halibut fisherman, becoming a pioneer in the Kodiak halibut fishery. People may remember his boats Lazy Sue, Susan, Bobby Dee and Columbia. In the early 1960s Bill partnered with Ned and Doris Roberts, and TT Jackson in their cattle ranch at Sheratin Bay before moving the cattle to Sitkaledak Island aboard the landing craft Labolina piloted by Jack McCord. Following his retirement, Bill with Ellen, his wife of 76 years, spent many summers boating around Shuyak, Afognak & Raspberry Islands stopping to visit people and tell them about God’s great love and salvation through Jesus Christ. They also volunteered 20 years of Sundays to sing hymns for the elders in the long-term care facility. He was a member of Snow Bruins, actively snowmobiling until he was 91. The Snow Bruins looked out for him in his later years during their forays across the snowy mountains.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents and all seven siblings. He is survived by his wife, Ellen, and two children, Elana White (Lorne) and Robert (Bob) Ross (Mary Beth). Grandchildren Rashel (Leif, Elana and Eliza), Amy (Keegan and Logan) and Cathryn (Jasmina, Desiree, Salina and Joshua) White, Bryan Segall (wife Nadine, children Alexander and Skylar).
A memorial service will be held at the Bible Chapel, Sunday at 1 p.m. on Nov. 10. There will be a repast/potluck afterwards at the Afognak Native Corporation building on Near Island. This is your chance to share “Bill stories.” Condolences may be sent to Ellen Ross at PO Box 1661.
The family thanks Hospice of Kodiak, the Senior Center and Angel’s Touch caregivers for all their help, and Terra Cupp for the loan of care equipment.