July 5, 1923 - February 20, 2019 Surrounded by his loving family, Dickinson Crosby Ross, a lifelong Los Angeles resident, businessman, philanthropist, beloved father, step-father, uncle, grandfather, and great grandfather, passed away peacefully February 20th, at 95 years young. This adored man was the son of Nora Dickinson Ross and Doctor Almon Bartlett Ross. This "blonde hair brown eyed giant," as Hedda Hopper once described him, was born July 5, 1923, with his fraternal twin Almon Ross Jr (Dode). Dickinson (Didi) and Dode had one older brother Jack Ross. His childhood was spent with neighborhood friends sailing and playing music. He and his brothers loved fishing with their dad in British Columbia, and spent many beautiful summers on the water in Alamitos Bay and Catalina.After graduating from LA High, Dickinson attended USC. He was headed to medical school to follow in his father's footsteps. However, WWII and duty called. He put his medical aspirations aside and in 1942 enlisted in the army. After completing his military service, Dickinson continued at USC where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. He played the sax and was the lead vocalist in his brother's band. According to all who knew him, he was the most handsome guy on campus!After graduation, Dickinson's life took an unexpected glamorous turn. He was discovered by Hollywood director and screenwriter Leo McCarey to co-star in the film, Good Sam with Gary Cooper and Ann Sheridan. While acting wasn't his forte, it afforded him the opportunity to set-up a home and marry his college sweetheart, Terry Brunton Barker. The two were wed in La Jolla in 1947. Terry and Dickinson had two children, Robyn and Crosby and settled in Hancock Park. Dickinson joined the distinguished insurance brokerage firm of Johnson and Higgins (J&H) where he soon became partner. He was appointed Chairman of the Western region in 1965 where he enjoyed a brilliant career completing J&H's quest to become a nationally recognized firm. On May 10, 1984, Dickinson married his everlasting love, Gabriele Reskin. They tied the knot in Avalon, Catalina, on board their beloved boat, L'Escargot. The honeymoon with his beautiful bride was spent on an Alaskan cruise with his mother in law and two of his grandchildren. This set the stage for many years of family travel and adventures. Together Gaby and Dickinson hosted numerous holiday celebrations with their expanded family and created many memorable vacations, including epic ski trips. He reluctantly hung up his skis at age 84. When Dickinson retired in 1985, he had more time to put into his philanthropic efforts. He actively served on the Boards of the United Way, American Heart Association, Fletcher Jones Foundation Board, Council for Independent Colleges, International Council of Christians and Jews, Executive Service Corps, St John's Hospital, and the John Tracy Clinic where he was honoured by the naming of the Dickinson C. Ross Center for Education and Innovation in 2016. In addition to volunteering, you would find Dickinson on his boat with Gaby, on the golf course or having lunch, usually a cheeseburger, at one of his many clubs. He definitely had a "clubby" side and at one time, had 17 memberships nationwide. He loved life and life loved him back! Although Alzheimer's slowly took his memory, he remained faithful to the unique, optimistic, charming, loving, and generous person he always was. When you met Dickinson you felt you were touched by an angel. He was someone you met once and would never forget. He was the last of a generation, a true gentleman, someone who made everyone feel special, and the best friend you could ever have. Until the end, you could find him playing dominoes in his cashmere sweater, khakis and button down Brooks Brothers shirt. His family is grateful to "Club" Belmont and his dedicated pals who took such good care of their "Chief".Dickinson is survived by his adoring wife, Gaby, his devoted children; Robyn Watson (Bill), and son Crosby (Richard Cassese), stepsons, Victor Reskin (Nancy), and Robert Reskin. Grandchildren, Rachael Steidl (Jamie), Joshua Ross (Carrie), Daniel Ross (Jill), Casey Watson, Nicholas Reskin, and Matthew Reskin. Nephew David Ross (Shabnam), niece Betsy Ross, and 10 great-grandchildren. The Memorial Service for Dickinson C. Ross will be at All Saints, Beverly Hills March 16 at 11:00am. There will be a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the John Tracy Clinic - Dickinson C. Ross Center for Education and Innovation.
Published in Los Angeles Times from Mar. 2 to Mar. 3, 2019.