Ross Charles O. Ross, Jr., age 79, university professor and community activist, went home to the Lord Tuesday, February 12, 2013 in Tupelo, Mississippi.
Born January 16, 1934 in Bessemer, Alabama to Charlie and Sarah Ross, he attended Wenona High School in Birmingham, Alabama where he played varsity basketball and football.
A graduate of Stillman College (B.A., English), Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and graduate of the University of Chicago (M.A., social work), he joined the faculty of the Ohio State University as an Associate Professor in the College of Social Work, where he received the Outstanding Professor Award. He also served as the inaugural chairperson of the Black Studies Department.
Professor Ross engaged in mass community mobilization and grass roots activism at The Ohio State University and the Columbus community at large during a period of social upheaval in the city of Columbus, Ohio.
He was instrumental in raising community awareness on issues such as targeted law enforcement, excessive force by law enforcement, and recruitment and retention of African-American students, faculty and staff and diversity, and inclusion on The Ohio State University Board of Trustees. Professor Ross played an active role in electoral politics at the local and national level.
He served as a key kitchen cabinet member in the successful grass roots campaign effort to elect Richard Hatcher as the first African-American mayor in Gary, Indiana, and as a political consultant to the campaign to elect Harold Washington as the first African-American mayor in Chicago, Illinois.
In addition, Professor Ross ran as an independent write-in candidate for mayor of Columbus, Ohio in 1984 and served as a delegate to the 1984 Democratic National Convention for Presidential candidate Jesse Jackson.
Professor Ross retired from the Ohio State University as an Emeritus faculty member in 2006 after 35 years of service, and distinguished himself in the Columbus community as an educator, community activist, and public speaker. He leaves to cherish his memories his loving and devoted wife of 54 years, Ruth (Forte) Ross; two sons, Charles and Marcus Ross; brother, Hollis "Bobby" Ross, Sr.; sister, John Alma Gould, daughter-in-law, Valeria Ross; and grandchildren, Courtney and Tonell, and a host of other relatives and friends.
Memorial service 11 a.m. Friday, February 22, 2013 at the Fawcett Center, 2400 Olentangy River Rd., Columbus, OH 43210.
Local arrangements entrusted to DIEHL-WHITTAKER FUNERAL SERVICE, 720 E. Long St.
To read Professor Ross' complete obituary and sign the online guestbook, please visit www.diehl-whittaker.com/obits
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on February 20, 2013.