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The Sayers and Larson family and friends are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Ross Verey Sayers, M.D. Ross died peacefully at home in Klamath Falls, Dec. 10, 2013.
Ross was an extraordinarily gifted and intelligent individual with many wide-ranging talents, accomplishments, and meaningful contributions both to his chosen field of medicine and in distinguished service to his country.
He was born in Women's Hospital in New York City April 3, 1920, and grew up in Rye and Port Chester in New York's Westchester County. His family included a brother, Albert, and sister, Victoria. His mother was a teacher and his father the manager for the Westchester Country Club. He attended junior high school in Port Chester at the Edison School. At age 13, his family moved to New York City and he attended George Washington High School in the Washington Heights section of the city. He became an Eagle Scout with 36 merit badges completed.
During high school, Ross was active in the band and orchestra and was accepted to the Juilliard School of Music at the age of 16, but instead opted to go to Columbia University in New York City, which he attended from 1937 to 1941, graduating with a bachelor's degree in English. He was an organist and choirmaster in New York City during those years. He remained active in the Columbia University Alumni Association until his late 80s and attended many reunions.
Following his college education, he became an instructor and then the head of the Department of English at Peakskill High School in Westchester County.
Ross served his country in World War II as executive officer and lieutenant commander of 36 landing crafts in the Pacific Theatre, taking part in five landings in the Pacific, including Iwo Jima, Saipan, Lady Gulf in the Philippines, Okinawa and Tinian. He continued to serve in the Naval Reserves until 1964.
Following the war, he decided to pursue medicine and earned his M.D. degree at the University of Louvain Medical School in Belgium. He entered the school knowing neither Dutch nor French. Within three months, his classmates were borrowing his notes, as he became fluent in both languages.
Upon his return to the U.S. and his hometown of New York/Madison, Connecticut area, he worked for 17 years in critical medical research and development roles supporting the introduction of important new drugs at the forefront of medicine at that time. He managed to test, clear with the FDA, and launch more than 100 new life-saving medicines over the course of this career.
He attained specialization in ophthalmology and was invited to teach and practice at Yale University Medical School, where he remained on the faculty for more than 20 years. At the same time, Ross ran a private practice in ophthalmology and served as the health director for his town of Madison, Conn. At 78, he retired from private practice and clinical work.
Throughout his life, Ross continued to enjoy and achieve in the field of music. He played the organ at various churches throughout the New York City area (including the famous St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue). His culminating musical achievement was playing the organ at Carnegie Hall every Sunday morning for six months. At the ripe old age of 90 and beyond, he was still enjoying and playing music.
Ross performed concerts and played Christmas carols on his piano for gathered family and friends at his home in Klamath Falls and played the trumpet for the Klamath Symphony Orchestra in three consecutive Fourth of July celebrations in Veterans Memorial Park. He was always distinguished by his suit and tie, starched white shirt and red suspenders.
Ross was very civically minded and became a regular contributor and participant at the Elks Club of Westboro, Conn., and Rotary Clubs of Madison, Conn., and Klamath Falls, Ore.
In 2006, he moved to Klamath Falls to join his partner Carolyn Collier Larson, with whom he maintained a close friendship for 68 years. Ross was cherished by Carolyn's children and his children.
Survivors include his sister, Victoria Sayers of Philadelphia, Pa.; his daughter, Helen Sayers Wilson of Bermuda; his son, Albert Sayers of Port Jefferson, N.Y. from his first marriage; his daughter, Susan Sayers of Seattle, Wash., from his second marriage; and his life partner, Carolyn Collier Larson of Klamath Falls and her children, Janet Larson, Tom Larson, and Laurel Larson.
Ross' daughter, Jane Sayers predeceased him.
At his request, no formal memorial service is planned.
Please sign the online guest book at www.heraldandnews.com/obituaries.
Published in Herald And News on Jan. 16, 2014