Herbert A. Ross (1935 - 2017)

Obituary
  • "I just heard the news today and I am sad for Donna and the..."
    - Stephenie (Cloud) Contreras
  • "You rarely meet special people like Jugde Ross and once you..."
    - Asha Sharma
  • "Judge Ross was one of the most caring and kind individuals..."
    - Tammy & Dale Alexander
  • "What a beautiful, loving tribute to Herb this is! He has to..."
    - Deanna Clark
  • "Mrs. Donna my heart goes out to you. May God bless and keep..."
    - Viola Kaye Smith

Herbert A. Ross ""Herb"", 82, long time Alaskan, U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge, lawyer, husband, friend and mentor to many passed away on Feb. 16, 2017, in Anchorage, Alaska, with his devoted, loving wife, Donna Ross, at his side. The cause of death was amyloidosis, a rare and fatal heart disease.
Judge Ross was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the adored son of Irving and Marge Ross and the younger brother of Sally (Albert) Leizman. He graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in Cleveland, and spent the summers of his youth working at his parents' hot dog concession stand, ""Rosses' Famous Original Foot Long Hotdogs,"" at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Western Reserve University in 1958, where he majored in psychology, and his Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco in 1964. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve from September 1959 through June 1965, when he was honorably discharged.
Judge Ross was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1964, but the call of the North beckoned. He drove up the Alcan Highway in an old Chevrolet, by himself, arriving in Anchorage just after the 1964 Earthquake. He married his loving wife, Donna (nee Tomsic), in May 1969. In his early years in Anchorage, he earned a private pilot's license, and once made a solo flight from Anchorage to Cleveland in a Piper Super Cub. He also joined a local running club, participating in the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon and several other local races. He qualified for the New York City Marathon in the early 1980s, where he ran one of his personal best times.
Judge Ross was admitted to the Alaska bar in 1966. While studying for that examination, he clerked for several well-known, old time Alaskan lawyers. In 1967, he became a partner in the law firm of Ross & Tunley with offices in Anchorage and Seward, Alaska. He opened his own office in Anchorage in 1974, where he specialized in commercial and bankruptcy law. In 1986, he was appointed bankruptcy judge for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Alaska. He proudly held this position for more than 30 years, once writing that he considered it ""serendipity to have been appointed to the best job he could have ever hoped to have."" He presided over some of Alaska's most significant and infamous bankruptcy cases, including the Peter Zamarello, MarkAir Inc. and RaeJean Bonham cases. After his retirement in 2000, Judge Ross was recalled to serve in Alaska, and later in the District of Nevada as well. He was a member of the Alaska and American Bar Associations for more than 50 years, and was honored to receive a 50-year pin from the Alaska Bar Association. His colleagues will remember him as a thoughtful, caring and compassionate judge, who listened carefully to each party's position before making a decision.
An avid, life-long learner, Judge Ross was often seen with a book, or later, a Kindle, in his hand. He developed an interest in conflict resolution early in his judicial career. He received a degree from the Straus Institute for Conflict Resolution at Pepperdine School of Law, and served as a mediator for various courts throughout the Ninth Circuit during his judicial career, including the last 10 years as a settlement judge in Las Vegas, Nev. He was a remarkably effective mediator. Judge Ross continued to work until the time of his illness, successfully mediating one of the largest and most complicated cases to come before him while on his last trip to Las Vegas.
Judge Ross was a very kind, warm, gentle, witty human being who will be deeply missed by his wife, Donna, his family and his friends, including his amazing court families in both Anchorage and Las Vegas. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Sally; his father-in-law, John Tomsic; and his brother-in-law, William Mell. Left behind to cherish his memory are his wife, Donna; his beloved nieces and nephews, Karen Leizman Moses (Barry Moses), Debra Leizman (Keith Kerman), Marc Leizman (Nancy) and Geoff and Jon Schellenberg; his great-nephews and great-nieces, Peter, Ethan and Sara Moses, Hannah, Eve and Sophie Kerman and Emily and Ryan Leizman; his mother-in-law, Marge Tomsic; his sisters-in-law, Carol Mell (and Jack the dog) and Margie Tomsic (Steve Schellenberg); and his best friend, Stan Ditus. He is also survived by many cousins. His family wishes to extend a very special thanks to Judge Spraker, to Judge Ross' assistant Cheryl, to all the other Bankruptcy Court staff, Amy, Sue, Janet, Peggy, Donna, Lori, Maggie, Dorothy, Maia, Matt and Kitt and to the Court Security Officers, especially Brian Myers, for all their support during this very difficult time. A very special thanks also to Karolyn and Lisa, and to neighbors John Hedland, Georgi Haynes, the Greys, the Jacques, Cheryl, Gil and RuthAnn, Rita, Jim and Morgan, Chris and Josephine, Ellen Lekisch and Frederick the Cat. The family sends warm thanks to Dr. Kaltenborn and the compassionate care givers at Providence Hospital, Maxim Healthcare Services, and Prestige Care and Rehabilitation Center.
A public viewing will be held at Evergreen Memorial Chapel, 737 E Street in Anchorage, on Thursday, March 9, 2017, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and a memorial service will be held at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center, 600 West 7th Avenue in Anchorage, on Friday, March 10, 2017, at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Anchorage Project Access, a worthy program that provides access to health care for low-income uninsured members of the Anchorage community, https://anchorageprojectaccess.org/donate-now; the Kerman Leizman Moses Family Fund, Fairmount Temple, 23737 Fairmount Blvd., Beachwood, OH 44122, to support the New York City high school confirmation trip; or a . Cards may be sent to the Family of Judge Ross, c/o U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 605 West 4th Avenue, Room 138, Anchorage, AK 99501. Arrangements are with Janssen's Evergreen Memorial Chapel.
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Evergreen Memorial Chapel - Anchorage
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Anchorage, AK 99501
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Published in Anchorage Daily News on Mar. 5, 2017
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