Col. Charles C. Ross

Published 6:04 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2011

After bravely battling blood cancer for the past year, Col. Charles Coolidge Ross, U.S. Army retired, passed away on Christmas Eve, 2010, surrounded by family. He was 86 years old. The immediate cause of death was congestive heart failure. During his final week of life Col Ross and his family were gently and ably assisted by the Hospice staff at Elizabeth House in Hendersonville, N.C.

Col. Ross was born Nov. 6, 1924 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the son of Gen. Morrill Ross and Catherine Coolidge Ross. Chuck enlisted a few days after his 18th birthday, was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in 1943, and joined the 26th Infantry Division in Europe, shortly after D-day. He flew 85 missions as a forward air observer, directing artillery fire from light aircraft. Chuck retired from the military as a full colonel after 27 years of active duty, which included serving in the Korean Conflict; teaching tank gunnery at Ft. Knox, Ky.; writing the U.S. Army Tank Gunnery Manual; serving with an armored battalion and at division headquarters at Scoffield Barracks, Hawaii; graduating from the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Ks.; teaching at the college; commanding a tank battalion in Germany and service at the Pentagon. &bsp;

Among Col. Rosss military honors are two air medals, the Army Commendation Medal and the Legion of Merit, the Armys highest award for service, given upon his retirement. In his military career, Chuck most valued his selection for and three-year service as a professor at the Command and General Staff College and his experience as the commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, 37th Armor, in Germany (1964-66). Always a proud and deeply patriotic veteran, in 2009 Col. Ross was a guest of the Tryon Rotary Club in the Honor Air Flight to Washington, D.C.&bsp; For the 12 years prior to his illness, Col. Ross volunteered once a week attending patients at the Veterans Nursing Home in Asheville, NC.

After retirement, Col. Ross, who has a B.A. in history from Park College, taught courses in world, American, and military history at Isothermal Community College for over 20 years. An avid horseman, Col. Ross also served as the master and huntsman of the Ft. Leavenworth Hunt, president of the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club, field master of the Greenville County Hounds, chairman of the Block House Steeplechase, and technical delegate for the Dressage and Combined Training Association.

An elder and Sunday School teacher at Tryon Presbyterian Church, Colonel Ross was also a member of the Second Wind Hall of Fame. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Julia Moore Ross; two daughters, Dr. Catherine Ross of Tyler, Texas, and Lauri Ross, RN, of Columbus; one grandson, Matthew Charles Ross; and his two brothers, Lt. Col. Morrill Ross and Jon Ross, both of San Antonio, Texas.

A memorial service and interment, with full military honors, will be held at Tryon Presbyterian Church, Harmon Field Road, on Jan. 7, 2011 at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his name to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Elizabeth House (the Hospice facility at 581 South Allen Road, Flat Rock, N.C. 28731) or to a charity of your choice. &bsp;

An online guest register is available at

McFarland Funeral Chapel, Tryon.