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Rotarian turned skills toward benefit of others

| Sunday, April 26, 2009

As an architect, Rotarian and a man who lived the tenets of his Christian faith, Jack Ross used his professional and philanthropic skills for the benefit of others.

Upon establishing his one-person architectural firm in Ross in 1964, Mr. Ross was first involved with the design the Western Pennsylvania Order of the Eastern Star Home in Ross.

Jack Ross of Pine, formerly of Ross, a retired member of the architectural firm of Ross, Schonder, Sterzinger, Cupcheck, died on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, in his home. He was 78.

The firm was instrumental in the design of numerous community-oriented buildings, such as Northland Library in McCandless, the North Hills and South Hills YMCAs and several buildings at the YMCA's camps Kon-O-Kwee in Butler County and Deer Valley in Somerset County.

"One of the reasons my husband was respected professionally and so well liked by his clients was that he worked with them and tried to fulfill their needs," said Bonnie Ross.

Mrs. Ross said her husband liked to work with organizations that he said benefited others.

"Jack was very active in the North Boros Rotary and served as president," Mrs. Ross said.

"During the Christmas holidays, Jack would join other Rotarians in Rotary's Fruit Box Project, where they sold and delivered fruit boxes," said Mrs. Ross.

"It was a fundraiser for several of their projects, including purchasing kitchen equipment for Meals on Wheels organizations."

And in recognition of his service to his Rotary Club, Mr. Ross was designated a Paul Harris Fellow, named after the man who founded Rotary in Chicago in 1905.

Born and raised in Mt. Lebanon, Jack Ross was one of four children in the family of Donald R. Sr. and Elizabeth Stiteler Ross. His father was the owner of Allegheny Electric in the South Hills.

In 1948, after graduating from Mt. Lebanon High School, Jack Ross received an associate degree from Graceland Junior College, now Graceland University, a Christian-oriented university in Lamoni, Iowa, and his undergraduate and master's degrees in architecture from Iowa State University in Ames.

At Iowa State University, he met Bonnie Luray Carmichael, a resident of Kansas City, Mo.

"We were married in 1954," said his wife.

Mrs. Ross said her husband took comfort and strength from being a father and was committed to his Christian faith.

"We attended both the Community Church of Christ in Pine and the Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in McCandless," she added. "Besides the religious facilities that Jack designed in Pennsylvania, he also designed religious facilities in Ohio and Michigan," said his wife.

Mr. Ross was an avid sailor who enjoyed taking his family and friends on his 505 sailboat at Moraine State Park in Butler County.

In addition to his wife, Bonnie, Mr. Ross is survived by his children, Ann Jeannette Smetanick of Berryville, Va., Douglas G. Ross of Pine and David R. Ross of Shreveport, La.; three grandchildren; a sister, Jane Ross Mercer of Ontario, Calif., and a brother, David L. Ross of Ann Arbor, Mich.

Mr. Ross was preceded in death by a brother, Donald R. Ross Jr.

Friends are invited to a celebration of Mr. Ross' life at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 16, 2009, in the Four Points Sheraton in Warrendale.

The family will meet friends from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the service.

Arrangements are by McDonald-Aeberli Funeral Home Inc., Mars, Butler County.

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