Longtime Steamboat Springs resident John O. Ross died peacefully March 8, 2006, with his family at his side at his home on Anglers Drive. He was 80.
John was born Nov. 24, 1925, in Rochelle, Ill., and grew up in nearby Rockford. He graduated from Purdue University and was a Naval aviation cadet during World War II.
John married his wife, Boo, in 1956. In his early career, John worked in Rockford and the Chicago area in sales and management. At the same time, he was a successful family dairy farm manager.
John and his family moved to Denver in 1970, and he took a job with Mentor Corp. While in Denver, he obtained his real estate license. He joined Perry & Company and moved to Steamboat Springs in 1972 to open and manage a new office. John became a partner in RE/MAX Steamboat in 1986 after the Perry & Company office closed. He retired in 1995.
During his years in Steamboat, John was a member of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors and he was chairman of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. He was a board member and later the president of the Yampa Valley Foundation, which helped re-establish Colorado Mountain College. John played a major role in the protection of the environment in Steamboat and Routt County. He served as a chairman of the City/County Air Quality Committee through much of the 1980s and early '90s. Through John's leadership, the community was successful in implementing the Steamboat Springs and Routt County Wood Smoke Ordinances.
John served on the City Council from 1993-95, and during his term was proud of his leadership in the development of the Haymaker Golf Course. John's service was marked by a strong sense of public duty and integrity. He was known as "Honest John."
John loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fly fishing, camping, hiking and skiing. He and longtime friend Scott Welles started the local chapter of the Over the Hill Gang.
He had a keen interest in archeology and became a certified avocational archaeologist. He assisted the U.S. Forest Service on various site surveys and excavations. John and Boo traveled extensively in the Southwest pursuing archeology and Native American cultures.
John is survived by his wife, Elizabeth (Boo); his children, P. Steele Roberts-Ross of Yreka, Calif., Forbes B. Ross of Applegate, Ore., William T. Ross of Louisville and Lindsay Ross of Louisville; and six grandchildren.
A memorial service was held March 14, 2006, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
Memorial donations can be made to Hospice of Steamboat or The Nature Conservancy in care of Yampa Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 776090, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477.