Obituary for Richard Albert "Dick" Ross
Richard Albert "Dick" Ross, 77, passed away on Friday, October 6, 2017. He was born April 10, 1940 to Gerald and Ann (Brewer) Ross in Houlton.
Dick was raised by his parents until the age of 8 when they tragically perished in a boating accident on Grand Lake. He then went to live with his maternal grandparents, Ashley and Gertrude Brewer along with their children Alvin, Carlton, Velma, Shirley, Jay, Iona, Joe and Betty. He attended school at Ricker Classical Institute in Houlton and graduated in 1958. Shortly after graduation, he entered the United States Army and completed basic training at Fort Dix, NJ. On January 26, 1959, he completed his course in General Airborne Ground Training and Jumping, deeming him a Qualified Parachutist. He always got a rise out of folks when he told them, "The first time I ever flew in a plane, I jumped out of it!"
As a PFC in the 101st Airborne and a rocket launcher/gunner in the 506th infantry, he became an aid to General William Westmoreland when he was in Germany, training officers that were being sent to Korea. Dick was one of the first gunners to receive the M-14 rifle as part of STRAC, and was 19 at the time. Before he was honorably discharged, he was starting his Army Mule one day when it slipped into gear and crashed into a tree, crushing his right thumb that eventually led to a partial thumb amputation. Later in life when he was driving school bus, the kids used to love giving him the "thumbs up" when they left the bus for the day. He was honorably discharged on June 30, 1964.
On August 24, 1962, he and his wife, Diane (Hanning) were married. They had two children, Scott and Dorie. At that time, he was the assistant town manager in Fort Fairfield until 1972 when they moved to Greenville. From 1972 until 1980, he was the town manager of Greenville and purchased Grace Pond Sporting Camps shortly after that. The sporting camps were a great place for him to meet many new folks as a Registered Maine Guide, running hunting trips and practicing his fly casting. He admitted, though, that Diane always had a better fly cast than anyone he knew. After they sold Grace Pond, he opened Ross Realty in Greenville, selling some of the best property and houses that the Moosehead Lake Region had to offer. At the same time, he was also driving a school bus for the Greenville School System where the kids wanted to have him as a driver...he always gave Tootsie Rolls to everyone.
After retirement, Dick and Diane moved to Monticello. He found himself acting as the assistant coach of the Houlton Christian Academy baseball team, owned a harness racing horse named Charlie and enjoyed his time the most watching harness racing anywhere he could find it. It was also at this time that he met Dan and Amy Corey, who gave him the opportunity to spend time in the potato fields again, making parts runs and keeping an eye on the guys. He absolutely cherished their friendship and enjoyed many good meals and fishing trips to the Miramichi with them and their family.
Dick and Diane moved back to Greenville, where he became involved with the Moosehead Sanitary District and the American Legion. He was also a bail commissioner for Piscataquis County. Recently, he worked to become a 32nd Degree Mason, something he was incredibly proud of. He helped many veterans with paperwork and actions necessary to obtain the most benefit they could receive. He had an incredible respect for the VA and the DAV, as they were very good to him in his later years. He had a fantastic staff of doctors, nurses and VA staff that treated him like a king, people that he could not have been more thankful for.
Dick was his family's number one fan, always attending sporting events for his grandchildren, taking Alisha out for lunch dates-turned grocery shopping dates in college, purchasing a 1968 Ford Mustang with Mark, watching Oakley (his great-grand dog), always enjoyed an "awful good" meal, he made us smile and he made us think. This summer, his granddaughter Hannah brought her husband, Andrew and children to Moosehead Lake to visit with us all before they move to Japan. Time spent on the lake, at camp and at Mark and Deidre's home made memories that were held close to his heart. We are all forever thankful for their company. Stories of work trips to Costa Rica and Nigeria were always enjoyed and "forgotten", as we continually asked him to tell us about his time spent there. We all smile when we think of him and we hope everyone will do the same...it's what he would have wanted.
Surviving him are his wife, Diane; their two children, Scott Ross and Dorie Gilbert, both of Greenville; a son-in-law, Mark Gilbert of Rockwood; four grandchildren, Mark Gilbert II and his wife, Deidre, of Rockwood, Alisha Gilbert and her boyfriend, Ben Landry of Scarborough, Hannah Lewis and her husband, Andrew, and their four children, Madison, Riley, Teagan, and Astoria of Destin, FL, and Adam Ross of Mountain View, AK. He is also survived by Jay Brewer, Iona Nadeau, and Norma Watson, along with close friends Gary and Linda Sirois, and Dan and Amy Corey.
A graveside Celebration of Life will be held 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 14th at the Foster Cemetery in Monticello. A luncheon will be held at the home of Mike and Jan Martin, North Road in Monticello immediately after the service. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Dick may be made to The Travis Mills Foundation, 89 Water Street, Hallowell, ME 04347, or to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Office of Development, 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa FL 33607.