January 18, 2017
8:56 am

Business/Civic Leader Ed Ross Has Died

You'll have to pardon "The Crew in Blue" for the near term if they themselves are feeling a bit blue. They have, and the entire community with them, lost the patriarch of the Ross family, owners and operators of City Plumbing & Heating Company in downtown St. Joseph.  Edgar "Ed" Ross was 83 at the time of his death on Monday, January 9th. His Crew in Blue is shown in the photo accompanying this story at Moody on the Market.com, where Ed is standing fourth from the left, while his son Michael is 8th from the left and his son Carey is on the far right. Photo credit to City Plumbing & Heating for sharing. 

Ed was truly a one of a kind individual who instilled in his own family the same incredible love for community and ethical business conduct that he exemplified for decades from his storefront in the central business district of downtown St. Joseph. He was born in October of 1933 in Eau Claire to Otto & Hulda Ross and went on to graduate from St. Joseph High School as a standout athlete playing football and baseball on top of his captain's role with the 1951 State Basketball Championship Team. In fact, he is ensconced in the St. Joseph High School Athletic Hall of Fame. 

After high school, Ed served in the U.S. Army and attended Western Michigan University, earning a degree in Business. It was a degree that would serve him well as a sterling member of the business community at the helm of City Plumbing & Heating for more than 40 years. 

Ed's prowess in the community lived on beyond his business life, as he played a key role on multiple boards including the St. Joseph Improvement Association, St. Joseph Savings Bank, the St. Joseph Public Schools Foundation, Grace Lutheran Church, St. Matthews Lutheran Church, and also as a long time member of the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Club. 

Ed married Ruth Ann Mashke in August of 1958 and they celebrated 55 years together before her death in 2014. Ed loved dearly the time he spent with his family, especially while creating memories at Ford Lake, Siesta Key and at Disneyworld.

Mr. Ross shared his skills, talents, business acumen and love of Michigan's Great Southwest freely as a dynamic civic leader who always gave deliberate and measured thought to what would be best for the community at large. That is a legacy that he has shared with his family and his business colleagues who continue that thoughtful participation and philanthropic work every day. He had a smile that, coupled with a crinkled eye, exhibited great joy for the community he loved. 

Ed is already dearly missed by his five children, Stephen (Elizabeth) Ross, Carey (Karon) Ross, Cheryl (Chuck) Bonnema, Michael (Connie) Ross, and Susan (Ralph) Newland. He also leaves behind 15 grand children, a brother Gerhart Ross, a sister Edna Volkers, and sisters-in-law Judy MarCoullier and Janet McPharlin. 

Ed was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth Ann, a grandson Bennett Ross, his parents, a brother Herb and sisters Gerda Demkovich, Betty Pedde and Anita Ross.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10:30am on Friday, January 13, 2017, at Grace Lutheran Church, 404 Glenlord Road in St. Joseph, and burial will follow at Riverview Cemetery. Friends may visit with the family from 5pm until 8pm on Thursday, January 12th at Starks & Menchinger Chapel, 2650 Niles Road in St. Joseph. 

Memorial contributions may be made to Grace Lutheran Church or the St. Joseph Public School Foundation. 
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