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William “Bill” Earl Ross

William “Bill” Earl Ross 73, died September 24, 2012 at Hospice in Shelby. Bill was a loving husband, caring father, and doting grandfather.  He will be missed.

Born in Gastonia, he was the son of the late Carl and Lola Presson Ross. Bill graduated from West Mecklenburg High School, class of 1955.  He attended North Carolina State University and graduated in 1960 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.  While at NCSU, Bill met his future bride, Carolyn Merritt.  They were married on September 11, 1960.  Bill and Carolyn settled in Dayton, Ohio and Bill worked at Wright-Patterson AFB.  They later moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where Bill worked for General Electric.  In 1969, Bill accepted a job at Fiber Industries and moved his family to Shelby.  He retired from Hoechst Celanese.

Bill was an active, faithful member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church for over forty years.  Over those years, he worked on many committees at church and chaired the Board of Trustees and the Finance Committee.  He was a member and frequent teacher in the Fellowship Sunday School class.  Bill was also blessed to be a teacher in the Bayliss Class.  Bill was one of the first participants in the Stephen Ministry program at Aldersgate.  He served both as a Stephen Minister and as a Leader.  Bill volunteered with the youth of Aldersgate several years as an adult leader on their week long mission program with Carolina Cross Connection.  In 2012, Bill received a Laity Award for his service as a member of Aldersgate UMC. Bill was also active in the Grace Emmaus Community serving in many positions including Board Member and Lay Director.  

Mr. Ross enjoyed helping our community and served on many boards dedicated to improving life in Cleveland County including the Cleveland County Sanitary District Board, Cleveland County Solid Waste Advisory Board, Inter-faith Alliance Board, Friends of the Library Board, Cleveland County Commissioners Advisory Committee, and the Number Three Fire Department Board.  Bill also put in many hours helping with Habitat for Humanity.  He enjoyed being able to work and fellowship with other volunteers while helping members of our community. Mr. Ross was the Calendar Coordinator for the Number Three Ruritan Club for many years.  One of Bill’s favorite volunteer activities was as a Chaplain at Cleveland Regional Medical Center.  Bill spent two days a week volunteering at the hospital for over ten years.


Along side his many church and community activities, Bill enjoyed reading and sailing as well as camping and hiking with his grandchildren.  He also loved to spend time at Oak Island, NC.  Some of his other favorite places were A.R.E. Camp, Rural Retreat, VA; Brigade of Light Terra Nova Center, Cedar Mountain, NC; and Wildacres Retreat, Little Switzerland, NC. 

In addition to his parents, Bill was preceded in death by his brothers, Norman O. Ross, Theron R. Ross, Joseph P. Ross, Donald R. Ross and Andrew Ross, all of Charlotte. He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years Carolyn Merritt Ross; daughters, Sandra Yarbro and her husband Jamie and Wendy Ross of Shelby; and seven grandchildren, Maury Hutchens and Sophia Hutchens of Shelby, Isabel Hutchens, NCSSM Durham, Harrison Hutchens of Washington, DC, Emma Blankenship, Rotary Exchange student in Brazil, Max Blankenship and Will Blankenship of Shelby; sisters, Dot Johnson of Inman, SC, Elizabeth Clark of Charlotte, NC, and Diane Butler of Florence, SC; sisters-in-law, Mary Ross and Joyce Ross both of Charlotte; and many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 3:00 Friday at Aldersgate United Methodist Church with a reception to follow in the Epworth Building. The Rev. Wayne Allen will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Aldersgate UMC, 1207 W. Dixon Blvd, Shelby, NC 28152 and Hospice of Cleveland County, 951 Wendover Heights Drive, Shelby, NC 28150.

Cecil M. Burton Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family of Mr. Ross.

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