1945 - 2020
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Alfred Kern Ross of Arlington, VA passed away on July 2, 2020, at the home of Joe and Jenny Makolandra. He was born on May 23, 1945 in Winston-Salem, NC. He was the second son of Rev. Courtney Beamon Ross and Gertrude Kern Ross, who predeceased him. Alfred graduated from Elkin High School, NC in 1963. He graduated from Duke University in 1967 with a BA in History. He completed graduate studies in Modern American History at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and later acquired a MA in History, with a concentration in Modern Europe, at George Mason University. He settled in Arlington, Virginia in 1974 and began a distinguished teaching career that spanned decades at Northern Virginia Community College, Woodbridge Campus. The son of a Methodist minister, Al spent the summers of his youth in North Carolina at Lake Junaluska, a United Methodist Assem- bly and Conference Center. As an adult, he was a dedicated and active member of the Fairlington United Methodist Church. He also volunteered for ALIVE and was an Election Officer for many years for the City of Alexandria. Al enjoyed traveling and visited many parts of the world with his longtime companion, Estelle Mabry, who predeceased him. More recently, he had eagerly anticipated traveling to Oxford each fall with fellow Duke/UNC alumni to participate in various studies and tours. He was a teacher who never stopped loving to learn. Al is survived by one brother, Courtney Beamon Ross Jr. and sister-in law, Jamie Simpson Ross; one sister, Marguerite Ross Howell and brother-in-law, David Vincent Howell; two nieces: Leah Michelle Howell and Madeline Kern Ross; two nephews: Randall Ross Howell and Peter Simpson Ross; one grandniece, Ella Ross Wiersma. He is also survived by fellow rabid Duke fan, former student, "adopted" son, and friend, Joe Makolandra. He, Jenny, and daughters, Casey and Laura, considered Al to be part of their family. The many friends of Al - from his work colleagues to his Bethany Beach buddies to the crew at Carlyle who made his weekly martinis - are left with the impact of his generous heart, curious nature, and easy-going personality. There will be a memorial for Al at Fairlington United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. on October 24, 2020, providing that COVID regulations will allow it. There will also be a virtual piece to the service for friends that are not able to travel. For more info, send questions to In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Fairlington United Methodist Church, 3900 King St., Alexandria, VA 22302.

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Published in The Washington Post on Aug. 2, 2020.
Memorial service
02:00 PM
Fairlington United Methodist Church
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2 entries
August 24, 2020
My memories go back to mid-sixties, when Al’s Dad, Courtney, was our minister at First UMC in Elkin, NC. Al was at Duke as an undergrad and helped with our Junior MYF (Later known as UMY), during my middle school years. What a perfect personality for a youth leader- from trips to the nearby Blue Ridge Pkwy, to movies, campfires, and plays, Al led it all with infectious enthusiasm, while pulling out religion lessons along the way. I wanted to soak up his vast knowledge of all things! I would have liked to have known him after I became an adult. Rest In Peace, Al Ross. I doubt you ever knew the people you influenced way back then!
Claudia Garland Bardi
August 3, 2020
Ted & Lynda West
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