On March 30, 2020, our father, husband, grandfather, and brother went back to the green, green grass of home.
Fay Lloyd Ross was born on April 21, 1925 to Howard B. Ross and Rae Caroline Ross in Pasadena, California. It wasn’t long before he was joined by his little sister, Jean C. Ross. Times were tough for this family as the Great Depression was just around the corner, and the effects were just beginning to be felt. Like many others, Fay’s family struggled to get by. When the kids were young, the Ross’s moved to San Miguel, California in hopes of better opportunities. Fay’s father worked as a ranch hand and almond picker, and eventually owned a small dairy. As Fay grew, he raised hogs and worked in the local farm store to help make ends meet for the family. This was an early example of the determination Fay had to make a better life for his family and himself.
Fay was 26 years old when he received his Selective Service draft orders to serve in the Korean War. He was an Army serviceman, and rose to the rank of Sargent of the motor pool during the two years he was in Korea. Fay saved most of his paycheck during this time and sent it back to his family in San Miguel.
Prior to the war, and for over 30 years thereafter, Fay dry farmed barley and raised cattle on the Alexander ranch in San Ardo, California. He married Barbara Clemans in 1953 and during their marriage they had 3 children, Steven, Richard, and Patricia. Fay and Barbara’s children grew up learning the value of hard work and worked in every aspect of the ranch. After 17 years of marriage, Fay and Barbara divorced.
Besides his desire to make a better life, Fay’s other true passion was big game hunting. Every summer after harvest, he and his dad would make the month long journey to Idaho to hunt big horn sheep, elk, deer, and bear with Fay’s old friend and packer, Fay Kissenger. These were the best of times and the cool mountains of Idaho he would never forget.
Fay always dreamed that he would someday own his own ranch, and worked hard to make that dream come true. In 1973 his wish came true when he purchased the Vaughan ranch in Unity, Oregon. The Unity ranch is a hay and cattle operation where Fay made his home in the early 80s.
In 1975, Fay married his sweetheart Patricia Nel Harvey Wood (Pat). She is the love of his life and they remained married until his death. Their entire lives together, through rain or shine, these two worked cattle, fixed fence, irrigated, and of course sprayed weeds, well into their 80s.
A great joy in Fay’s life were his grandchildren. Memories of fishing, camping, and tractor driving with grandpa have been the source of countless stories ‘round the dinner table. He loved to spend time talking about tractors and the old days of hunting with his grandsons, and anyone else who would listen. For many years, he and Pat went back to Paso Robles to spend the winter months. In later years, they also loved to travel to Arizona in the winter to visit, spend the holidays, and take a red rock hike or two, with their granddaughters.
Fay is survived by his wife, Patricia N. Ross; his son Steve Ross (Janice); his daughter Patricia Highley (Jerry), sister Jean Foster; grandchildren Jayme Thoma (Alex); Anna Alisse Caton (Joe); Richard Ross (Rachel); Shawn Ross; Carl Ross; Stephen Ross; Wyatt Wood (Amy); Wade Wood (Breanna); Alicia Hernandez (Jacob); Floyd Patterson; Cody Patterson; and step children Duane Wood (Robin), Douglas Wood, Dawn Patterson (Lester).
He is preceded in death by his parents, and his son Richard Ross.
Fay embodied a principled life. He was tough and honest, and held the admiration of later generations. Goodbye Dad…til we meet again.
“Yes, they’ll all come to see me
In the shade of that old oak tree
As they lay me ‘neath the green, green grass of home”