PIONEER, Ohio - Robert T. Ross, who served in the Navy for 30 years before settling in northwest Ohio to become a businessman, died of heart failure at his daughter's home here on Saturday. He was 80.
Mr. Ross was a native of Delta and graduated from Delta High School in 1942. He attended Miami University in Oxford for two years as part of his military service, studying communications and cryptology, said his son, Robert "Ted" Ross, Jr.
"He was a born leader, a confidant, a good friend, and very Christian," Ted Ross said. "He loved doing things for people and the church. Those are some of the traits I hope to exemplify as I get older. He was just a best friend."
Mr. Ross served in the Navy for three decades, taking his family to the places where he was stationed, including the Philippines and Japan, as well as Alaska and California, rising to master chief petty officer.
"He was able to take his family with him," Ted Ross said. "I remember meeting many of the sailors who worked for my dad, and they became like family."
From 1966 to 1972, Mr. Ross worked for the Navy in the Pentagon before retiring. The family moved from Maryland to Pioneer as Mr. Ross and his wife, Phyllis Mae, started a ceramics shop, called Kozy Kiln.
"In 1972, they finally had enough of the life in Washington, D.C., including Watergate," Ted Ross said. "They felt it was time to do something less stressful. They moved to Pioneer because that's where his father-in-law lived at the time, and they opened their shop there."
Mr. Ross also worked as an electrician for an outlet in Bryan before starting his own business, Ross Electric.
"He never really retired," Ted Ross said. "He worked [in Bryan] for 10 to 12 years and decided to go out on his own where he could pick and choose the jobs he wanted to do."
When Phyllis Ross died in 2001, Mr. Ross became more involved with the church and volunteered at Mom's Dream, a scrapbook shop in Pioneer, Ted Ross said. He was also a member of the Pioneer Lions Club. Ted Ross said his father was proud of the Clearfolk Festival in Pioneer, which he helped establish.
Surviving Mr. Ross are his daughters, Regina McLennan, Julia Kintner, and Patricia Oxender; sons, Robert "Ted" Ross, Jr., Thomas Ross, and Timothy Ross; sisters, Helen Peltz and Shirley Grimes; 15 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Visitation for Mr. Ross will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. today at Thompson Funeral Home in Pioneer. A Pioneer Lions Club service will begin at 7:30 p.m. Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Pioneer United Methodist Church.
The family request memorials be made to Hospice of Williams and Fulton County and the Pioneer United Methodist Church.