Richard James Ross passed away on November 1, 2022. He was born in Dillon, Montana, October 1, 1935. At age 6 he moved with his family to his grandfather's farm east of Ronan, Montana. A short time after he graduated from Ronan High School in 1953, he joined the Army where he spent most of his time in Germany as a mechanic and driver on a tank retriever.
After his return from service, he attended Western Montana College where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in elementary education. He taught five years in the Whitehall Elementary School before starting his railroad career in 1963 with the Milwaukee Road. He worked many positions with the Milwaukee Road and eventually moved to the Deer Lodge, Montana, Superintendents Office and was there until it closed in 1980.
After leaving the Milwaukee Road, he worked for several consulting firms until 1983 when he was given a position with the State of Montana in the Transportation Division of the Dept. of Commerce. Starting in 1992, he worked many railroad-related positions through the next several years living in Hiawatha, Kansas and Florence, S. Carolina. His last position took him to Davenport, Iowa, with I&M Rail Link when he retired in 1999 and moved to Florida.
He was married to Phoebe Johnson in 1959 and there are five children born to this marriage which ended in divorce.
He married Mary Lou Dowden in Dunnellon, Florida, in September 2000. They enjoyed several years of traveling in their motor home before moving to Ponte Vedra, FL where he enjoyed playing golf, playing cards and other activities in their Del Webb community. And, of course, keeping in touch with all his old railroading friends around the country.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou, Ponte Vedra, FL and five children: sons – Jim (Beth) Billings, MT; Greg, New Port Richey, FL; Dave (Alesha), Deer Lodge, MT; daughters – Lori, Deer Lodge, MT and Cami, Butte, MT; two stepsons – Jeff Struble (Lisa) Ponte Vedra, FL and Scott Struble (Mandy) Kingsland, GA. He is also survived by fourteen grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; five step grandchildren and one step great-granddaughter. He was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers – Frank, John and Jake and one sister, Della Marie.
There will be a celebration of life for Dick on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 from 5 to 7 PM at the Del Webb Anastasia Clubhouse in Ponte Vedra, FL.