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William Benjamin (Bill) Ross, 90, died peacefully on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2013 at St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson, AZ. He was born in Paterson, N.J., on Feb. 24, 1923. After a happy suburban childhood in Paterson, the Great Depression forced a family move to Jersey City, where he attended P.S. #12 and Lincoln High School, there graduating in 1939 with honors. That year, he entered New York University (NYU), majoring in English Education. WWII prompted his enlistment in the Army Air Corps in 1942; he was eventually assigned as radio instructor to the Air Transport Command (ATC) in Calcutta, India, and Kunming, China. There he spent a year flying over the "Hump" (Himalayas) and teaching radio to ATC pilots, receiving a battle star for China combat zone operations.

Discharged in late 1946, Bill subsequently received an M.A. degree from NYU in 1948 and took positions as English instructor at Mohawk Valley Community College and the Utica, N.Y. public schools. He also worked as a radio announcer at station WIBX in Utica. In 1965 he earned an advanced degree in guidance counseling at Colgate University, then served as a guidance counselor for several years, and eventually was appointed Director of Guidance for the Utica Public Schools in 1975 until his retirement in 1983.

During his retirement years in Utica, Bill and his wife, Syril, travelled extensively and enjoyed ballroom dancing. He also danced with the Mohawk Valley Performing Arts Ballet Company in six yearly productions of "The Nutcracker Ballet" and in "Sleeping Beauty" and sang with the Hamilton College Oratorio Society and the New Horizons Barbershop Chorus.

On moving to Green Valley, AZ, in 1993, he performed with the Green Valley Spring Follies for nine years. Then came a second retirement to La Posada in 2005, where Bill served as video editor for the in-house T.V. station until he began losing his vision.

A cultivated old-school gentleman, Bill loved classical music, especially chamber music, and theater and was noted for his equable temperament and agreeable manner.

In the last several months, he deeply mourned his wife, Syril, who died last December. He is survived by his daughters, Karen Wilson of Ashland, OR, and Deborah Ross of Waipahu, Hawaii; his grandchildren, Flannery and Gareth Wilson and Anton and Violet Fratzke; and numerous nieces and nephews. In the Utica area, he leaves sisters-in-law Elinor Lampert and Lois Greene as well as cousins Murray and Diane Kirshtein. His wish was for no formal memorial or funeral; donations may be made to the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

Published in Green Valley News & Sun on Sept. 8, 2013
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