Robert G. Ross, of E. State St., Gloversville, N.Y., passed away at his home January 1, 2013. Born in Schenectady, N.Y., the son of Edna (Burgess) Settle and Herbert Settle, Mr. Ross was predeceased by his father, a type-setter at the Schenectady Gazette; his mother, a nurse at Ellis Hospital, and his adoptive stepfather, Frank Ross, a grocer. He was raised from age 13 by his grandparents, George and Olive (Newton) Burgess of Johnstown, N.Y.
Mr. Ross met his wife of sixty-two years, Ruth J. Barker, at Johnstown High School, where they both graduated. Along with Ruth, he was active in the Colonial Little Theatre and is most remembered by his children for playing the Cowardly Lion opposite Ruth, who played Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz." He and Ruth also helped organize reunions of their high school graduating class.
Mr. Ross was a proud graduate of General Electric's apprentice program in Schenectady. He began work at GE as an apprentice tool and die maker and was promoted to managerial positions in quality control and in large motors and generators, becoming known as a "go to" problem-solver in final assembly. He retired from GE in 1987 and looked forward to attending reunions of apprentice program alumni.
In his forties, Mr. Ross became an avid hiker, back-packing the Adirondack Mountains solo and with Ruth and their children. He enjoyed swimming and boating with his family on the Sacandaga reservoir and taught his children to appreciate the natural world and take responsibility for preserving it. After he and his wife retired, they outfitted a camper and traveled the U.S. Among many natural beauties they saw and people they met, they enjoyed trips to hydroelectric dams powering large motors and generators they helped build at GE (where Mrs. Ross had also worked wiring large motors). They made many friends in Ocala, Fla., where they wintered for many years.
An avid reader, Mr. Ross acquired expert knowledge of World War II, having listened as a boy to Winston Churchill's speeches over his grandfather's short-wave. He became a skilled raconteur, passing on to his children stories his grandfather told him about growing up in Dorset, England; serving in the Boer War; and coming to America.
Mr. Ross had been in declining health for a number of years. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; his sister, Nancy Jane Ross (Thomas De Vito) of Schenectady, N.Y.; five of his children: Dale (Dee Dee) Ross (Joseph Cooper) of Cape Coral, Fla., Christine Ross of Canandaigua, N.Y., Linda Ross (Michael Martin) of Canandaigua, N.Y., John Ross (Shirley Paul) of Gloversville, N.Y., Alya (Nancy Jane) Ross (Kevin Koller) of Watsonville, Calif.; grandchildren, Ryan Miniutti, Allyson Miniutti (Kenneth Ray), Jack Miniutti (Danielle Vollmuth), Seth Cooper (Meghan MacDonald), Rebecca Cooper (Andrew Piela), Natia Davis, Myea Ackermann, Christine Ackermann, Paul Martin (Jesse Fake), April Martin, Jenny Ross, Marjorie Dorn, Zachary Dorn; and many great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter, Roberta G. Ross (John Pendergrass).
A celebration of his life will be held January 26, 2013, at 11 a.m. in the social room, Congregational Church, 31-33 E. Fulton St., Gloversville, N.Y., a buffet luncheon in the room to follow at noon. No flowers, please. Donations in memory of Robert Ross can be made to Fulton County SPCA, 486 Stevers Mills Road, Broadalbin, N.Y.