Town mourns death of John Ross
Well-known and beloved Graaff-Reinet resident, John Robert Ross (77), sadly died of Covid-19 on 4 September. A private memorial was held for him on 15 September.
John was born in the Wynberg District, Cape Town, and moved to Graaff-Reinet with his parents Robert and Sylvia in 1950, where they farmed on Welgevonden. John became a boarder at Union High School in 1951, where he proved to be a talented swimmer.
In 1960, John matriculated from Union with a first-class pass. In 1961, he completed one year of military service in Saldanha Bay, after which he attended Grootfontein College in Middelberg to obtain a Diploma in Sheep and Wool. John returned to Welgevonden in 1965.
In 1968, John started studying engineering at the University of Cape Town, but soon transferred to accountancy. He studied part-time, while serving articles with Cecil Kilpin & co for five years, and later with Hoard and Joubert, between 1973 and 1975.
In 1970, John married Reinet Vosloo. Four years later they had their son Andre, and David arrived in 1977. Both sons were born in Claremont, Cape Town. John and Reinet would later divorce, in about 1980. John returned to his roots in Graaff-Reinet in the late 80s, where he bought a lovely home on Queen Street. His two sons followed in his footsteps by also matriculating from Union High. John remained passionate about his alma mater, serving on the Old Unionite Committee. John’s dedication to Graaff-Reinet was evident in his involvement in the community. For many years, he was the accountant and then later the manager of the Graaff-Reinet Club. He served the Lions Club for 35 years as president, secretary, treasurer and zone chairman. Chairperson Gerald Buisman said that John’s main love in Lions was BrightSight, a project that helped many needy Graaff-Reinetters to have their eyes tested and get glasses, if needed. “Although he felt it was time to retire, he kept on because the club needed him,” said Buisman. “He will be sorely missed.” John was also a vital part of the Camdeboo Hospice, for which he kept the accounts and ensured its financial viability for many years. Buisman, also the chairperson of Hospice, said that John generously worked free of charge when Hospice faced financial difficulty. “His wise advice and gentle dry humour at board meetings will be greatly missed,” Buisman added.
John spent his last few years at the Parsonage Street Home for the Aged. Previously called the Red Cross Home, this home was founded by his mother Sylvia, together with a few other lades, in the 60s. Although no longer with us, the impact that John had on his community will be remembered for years to come.
Readers can kindly contact Peter Ross (083 302 3791) for any more details. - Compiled by Paula-Ann Smit