William “Ken” Kenneth Ross, age 92 of Shelby, passed away peacefully on Monday, February 17, 2020. Ken Ross had a strong belief in his God, loved life and he loved his family. He worked hard and saw each day as an opportunity to do something good.
He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Dorothy Jean Kimbrough Ross of the home, his two sons, David Anthony Ross of Belmont, NC, and William Douglas Ross of Shelby, NC, three grandchildren, David Crawford of Wilmington, NC, Kathryn Ross-White of Duluth, MN, and William Austin Ross of Belmont, NC, a great grandson, Thomas Crawford, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Born February 20, 1927 in Weaverville, NC, Ken was the son of the late Charles and Essie Cothran Ross and was preceded in death by his siblings, Charles Ross, James Ross, Eloise Adams, Juanita Thompson, Barbara Fowler and an infant, David Lee Ross.
Ken spent most of his childhood in Greenville County, SC. As a child he loved being outdoors playing in creeks and woods with his brothers and sisters. His early childhood was spent in a house without electricity, lighted with kerosene lamps and heated by an open fireplace. Meals were cooked on a wood stove.
After graduating from Taylors High School, in Taylors, SC in May 1944, he worked at Judson Mill. Upon turning 18 in February of 1945, he registered for the draft but was never called. He left Judson Mill and began work with a construction company his father was employed with known as Reed & Abee. Ken found he really enjoyed the outside construction work and it would be his work of choice for the rest of his life.
On May 18th, 1948 while riding down the main street of Greer, SC he spied a beautiful young woman by the name of Dorothy Jean Kimbrough walking on the sidewalk with a friend. He quickly parked his car and hit the sidewalk and caught up with her. They became acquainted over a bag of popcorn and a courtship ensued.
Ken was drafted in October of 1950 and reported to Camp Polk, LA. In January of 1951 on a 5-day pass he drove to Knoxville, TN and he and Dorothy Jean were married. The marriage continued for 69 years. Soon after their marriage, he was shipped off to Korea where he saw combat with the 45th Infantry. He finished his tour of Korea with 62nd Construction Engineers.
After the war, Ken and Jean moved to Shelby, NC and raised their two sons. Ken worked for Spangler & Sons as a construction superintendent. Over the course of 27 years, Ken was responsible for many major road construction projects in the area including the widening of Grover and Lafayette Streets, Highway 18 extension just to name a few. One would be hard-pressed to travel far in Cleveland County and not encounter some of his work.
Later in life, Ken so enjoyed the company of his grandchildren, David, Kathryn, and William Austin. He spent countless hours building tree houses, and swing sets, and even a miniature railway. His grandchildren brought him great joy.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 am Saturday, February 22, 2020 at Poplar Springs Baptist Church conducted by Rev. Andy Oliver. A visitation will be held from 9:00 – 11:00 am prior to the service at the church. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
Memorial contributions can be made to Poplar Springs Baptist Church, 1106 Poplar Springs Church Rd, Shelby, NC 28152 and the Alzheimer’s Association - Western Carolina Chapter, 4600 Park Road, Suite 250, Charlotte, NC 28209.
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A service of Cleveland Funeral Services & Crematory, Inc.
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