William Jarboe Ross Obituary – Oklahoman

William Jarboe “Bill” Ross, Oklahoma City native and son and grandson of ’89, died peacefully on November 17, 2022 at St. Anthony Hospital, where he was born 92 years earlier on May 9, 1930 Bill’s paternal grandfather, George Ross, made the 1889 overland tour on the Santa Fe Train from Gainesville, TX. George bet on California Street, where the old Cox Convention Center is located, and built the Bakery of Indian Territory.

Bill grew up on the southwest corner of 16th and Marion, where his home now graces the entrance to The Plaza District. Bill was an only child and lived with his parents, grandmother and aunt. His family belonged to St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, and he attended Rosary Elementary School and Classen High School. By the age of 10, he was a paperboy and quickly managed the largest Saturday Evening Post newspaper route. He worked at Pettee’s Hardware and, by the time he turned 13, was a delivery man for H. Dorsey Douglass Office Supply. From the age of 14 through law school, Bill worked after school and summer at Liberty National Bank, starting in the mailroom and moving up to a teller position.

Bill graduated in 1952 from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. In 1954, he earned a law degree from the University of Oklahoma School of Law. After law school, Bill worked in the Oklahoma City City Council office before joining Rainey, Flynn, Green and Anderson as an associate in 1960. He became a partner in the law firm in 1965 and a senior partner in 1975 after his mentor Gordon Rainey passed away. . At that time, the firm was renamed Rainey, Ross, Rice & Binns.

Bill’s law firm has served as outside counsel to OGE, the Santa Fe Railroad, and The Oklahoma Publishing Company, to name a few. He helped clients, including EK Gaylord, Edward L. Gaylord, and Edith Kinney Gaylord, with their estate planning and corporate needs. Bill met with Edith every week in her office at The First National Center followed by lunch at The Beacon Club. In 1982, working with Bill, Edith founded the Inasmuch Foundation and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. Later, after Bill’s son Bob graduated from OU Law School, they worked together for 20 years at the helm of the foundation. At the time of his death, Bill was serving as Chairman Emeritus of the Inasmuch Foundation Board of Directors.

Bill met his wife Mary Lillian Ryan in October 1961 on a double date. After a brief courtship, Bill and Lil were married on May 19, 1962, and were married for 60 years, raising a loving family and community of friends. Bill and Lil made their home in Oklahoma City and joined Christ the King Parish. Bill served the church as chair of the finance committee, and he and Lil were faithful and committed parishioners.

Bill was passionate about Oklahoma City and serving the nonprofit community, including: Co-Chairman of the OU Law School Board of Visitors, President of the St. Anthony Hospital Foundation; Chairman of the Oklahoma Heritage Association’s Oklahoma History Teaching Committee; Member, Oklahoma City Mayor’s Committee on Historic Preservation; Member of the Oklahoma City Bicentennial Commission; President, William Fremont Harn Homestead Museum; Conductor, Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra; Director, Oklahoma City Philharmonic Society; and Director, Oklahoma City Educare.

For the federal bar association, Bill was selected by United States Senator Don Nickles to chair the Federal Judicial Nominating Committee for the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, an important role in the selection of judges for serve the Western District. In addition, Bill served the Western District as a member of the Admissions and Grievance Committee.

Bill was selected to serve on various corporate boards for his legal and financial experience, including: United Energy Resources Corp; PetroUnited Terminals, Inc.; Hadson Petroleum Corporation; Clinton and Oklahoma Western Railroad Company; First National Bank of Boatmen; Oklahoma Bank of Nations; and the First Interstate Bank of Oklahoma.

For his service and leadership, Bill received many cherished honors. He received OU’s highest honor, an Honorary Degree in Humane Letters in 2012. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2015 and the OU Law School Order of the Owl Hall of Fame in 2011 , the inaugural year. He was honored with the OU Regents’ Alumni Award in 2000; Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Oklahoma City University in 2005; Oklahoma City Public Schools Wall of Fame Humanitarian Award in 2005; Distinguished Graduate Award – Escuela del Rosario in 2006; 2011 Plaza District Urban Pioneer Award; Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Oklahoma in 2012; Lyric Theater John Kirkpatrick Award in 2012; and Oklahoma Trade and Industry Hall of Honor, Meinders School of Business, Oklahoma City University in 2014.

He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Lillian Ryan Ross; his children, Rebecca Anne Ross Roten (Alan), Molly Kathleen Ross Fuhrman (Chris), and Robert Joseph Ross (Heather); and his grandchildren, William Ross Roten, Caroline Marie Roten, Robert Austin Fuhrman, Charles Goodwin Fuhrman, Lillian Margaret Ross, and Francis Joseph Ross.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Bill’s honor to the University of Oklahoma School of Law or Christ the King Catholic Church. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 am on Monday, November 21, 2022 at Christ the King Catholic Church. www.smithandkernke.com

Published online on November 18, 2022

Posted in The Oklahoman

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