FORT WORTH — Joe Pitts Ross passed away peacefully at his home, surrounded by his loved ones on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016.
Graveside service: 10 a.m. Friday in Grandview Cemetery in Grandview. Memorial service: 3 p.m. Friday at Arborlawn United Methodist Church, 5001 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth. The Rev.Ben Disney will preside over the services. Family memorabilia and guest book for Mr. Ross will be at Thompson Harveson and Cole on Thursday.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, should friends desire, memorials may be given to Arborlawn United Methodist Church Foundation, Inc., 5001 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, Texas, 76109; Grandview Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund, Box 116, Grandview, Texas, 76050; or the Baylor B Association, Baylor University, 1500 South University Parks Drive, Waco, Texas, 76706.
Joe was born on Aug. 31, 1936, in Fort Worth to Gladys and Robert Ross. He was raised in Grandview where he attended public school until graduation in 1954. Joe grew up in town, but his family farmed and raised livestock at the family farm. One of his favorite memories from childhood was learning how to quail hunt with bird dogs during the early 1950s. Joe excelled at football at Grandview High School and his talent on the field drew the attention of Baylor University. Joe was offered a football scholarship to Baylor where he studied business and education. After graduation in 1958, he began working for Tennessee Oil and Gas in west Texas. One Sunday in February 1960 at the First Baptist Church in Odessa, Joe opened the door for a stunning black-haired woman. That young woman soon became the love of his life. Joe married Sandra Fowler in November 1960 in her family's living room in Odessa. After marrying, Joe and Sandra moved to Cleburne where they were both offered teaching jobs in the school district. Joe was housemaster of Wilson House and history teacher in Cleburne High School. He calls that job one of his favorites. In 1968, Joe and Sandra moved to Tucson, Ariz., where Joe taught school and Sandra worked on her master's degree. That year Joe was named Groovy Teacher of the Year in Tucson. In 1969, they moved back to Fort Worth where Joe became a history teacher for the Fort Worth public schools at William James Middle School. During that time, he received his master's degree from Abilene Christian University. In 1973 he was named special assistant to the superintendent of FWISD. In 1980, he was named assistant superintendent and held that position until he retired in 1998. In July of 2004, Joe was asked to return to the school district as superintendent of Schools. He held that position until late 2005 when he then retired a second time from the FWISD.
In addition to his dedication to the children and employees of the FWISD and Texas, he was a dedicated farmer and rancher. He enjoyed farming and ranching and was very proud of his farmland and cattle operation, which has been in the Ross family over 116 years. He also loved attending Baylor Bear football games and Lady Bears basketball.
After retiring, Joe spent the majority of his time at his ranch near Grandview, but always made it back to Fort Worth by Saturday night to attend Sunday school and church on Sunday morning. In 2008, Joe was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and a few months later his beloved wife, Sandra, died suddenly and unexpectedly. To help occupy his time during cancer recovery, Joe began a series of e-mails called "Joe's Journey," which told his story and how his Christian faith and love of Jesus got him through discouraging times.
Joe Ross was a dedicated guiding force for his family. He could be counted on for solid advice in any situation. His work ethic, unwavering faith in the Lord, and the remarkable grace with which he accepted his cancer journey was an example for so many.
Joe was a life member of the Baylor B Letterwinner's Association, a member of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, advisory director of the Equity Center, a member of the Fort Worth Retired School Employees Association, member of Arborlawn United Methodist Church and the Ben Feemster New Testament Sunday School Class.
The family wishes to extend its heartfelt gratitude to the nurses and staff at Heritage Hospice; the caregivers at Amada Senior Care; and special caregiver, Amy Fanning.
Joe was preceded in death by his wife, Sandra Fowler Ross; his parents, Robert and Gladys Ross; and his sister, Bobbie Randles Washmon.
Survivors: Joe's daughter, Sarah Jane Ross Fettinger and husband, Pat; son, Robert Pitts Ross II and wife, Lisa; grandchildren, Miranda Fettinger, Caroline Fettinger, Aerin Ross and Robert Cael Ross.
Published on October 18, 2016