Bill Ross 83, passed away peacefully at home on February 20th 2019. His devoted wife, Pat was by his side. Bill was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He attended Paseo High School, where he played all sports, and was named Interscholastic League Athlete of the Year, receiving the Coach Selvidge Trophy for the 1952-53 school year. Bill was highly recruited in basketball by the region’s top universities. He chose the University of Missouri in Columbia where he played both basketball and baseball, being part of the team that won the 1954 NCAA Baseball Championship. His love for Mizzou was deep as some of his children and grandchildren followed him there.
Bill’s love for athletics and his talent in all sports shaped his career. After beginning his career coaching basketball in Tarkio, MO., Bill returned to Kansas City, coaching at Westport High School and finally getting back to his roots as he reunited with his high school alma mater, where he coached his PASEO Pirates. With much success at the high school level, Bill finally landed at UMKC, where he launched the University’s men’s basketball program in 1968, the men’s golf team in 1969 and the women’s basketball program in 1980. Not only did he pioneer these programs, Bill coached all three teams for many years and simultaneously served as the University’s Sports Information Director for more than ten years. He worked at Leawood, Meadowbrook and Oakwood Country Clubs managing swim programs during summer breaks from coaching. It was no coincidence his tenure at Oakwood lasted the longest as Bill mastered that golf course (like many others) along the way. He also gave legal depositions for TASA. Bill was an athletic official throughout his career. After officiating high school sports, Bill moved up to officiate NCAA Football before getting the call from the National Football League. He spent many years in the NFL as he enjoyed the camaraderie with coaches, players and officials at the highest level. Bill was inducted into the State of Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and the UMKC Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2003, then Kansas City Mayor, Kay Barnes proclaimed October 2, 2003 as Bill Ross Day in Kansas City. He impacted many young lives in the metro area as an educator, coach and mentor. Bill and Pat wintered in Honolulu, Hawaii for over 25 plus years where they had many friends.
Bill is survived by his wife of 62 years, Patricia Ross. He is also survived by daughters, Connie King (John dec.), Debra Hadler (Keith), Cynthia Ross Fischer (Mark), Katherine Guignon (Pierre, Jr.), grandchildren Michael (Erin) King, Brian King, Emily (David) Stamatis, Wesley (Brooke) Hadler, Heidi (Dan) Lesinski,Katherine Hadler, Wil Hadler, Carly (Brian) Kane, Brooks Vigliaturo, Pierre J. Guignon III, Ross William Guignon, Grace Guignon, six great grandchildren, sister, Virginia Powers, cousins, James Ross and David Parry along with many nieces and nephews.
Bill was predeceased by his mother and father, William Earl Sr. and Katherine G. Ross, sister Mary Weddell and brother-in-law Bill Nichols, with whom he enjoyed his passion of playing golf.
A service will be held at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Wesley Chapel, 13720 Roe, Leawood, Kansas on Friday March 8 at 2:00 pm with reception and visitation from 3:00-5:00.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Bill Ross Scholarship for UMKC Intercollegiate Athletics, 202 Administrative Center, 5100 Rockhill Rd., KCMO64110 or to the Armour Oaks Senior Living Community, 8100 Wornall Rd KCMO 64114.