Rufus C. Ross Jr. – Obituary

By  | November 7, 2017 | Filed under: Obituaries, Williams Funeral Home

Rufus C. Ross Jr., 94, former owner of Ross Insurance Agency and resident of The Bridge in Columbia, passed away peacefully Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at NHC-Maury.
A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Columbia TN on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. The family will visit with friends prior to the service beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the church. A private family burial will follow.
He was born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, and his family soon moved to Mt. Pleasant TN where he was raised. He graduated high school from Battle Ground Academy in Franklin in 1940, attended Rhodes College in Memphis, and joined the US Army Air Corps immediately after Pearl Harbor.
He flew 58 missions as a Bombardier/Navigator on a B-26 Martin Marauder with the 386th Bomb Group stationed in England between April 1943 and August 1944. He was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and the Air Medal with nine clusters. He later returned to the States and went through pilot training, receiving his pilot’s wings in mid-1945.
Upon his discharge in late 1945, he entered the family insurance agency in Mt. Pleasant along with his brother Bill. He later opened an office and moved to Columbia in 1951. He remained in business with Ross Insurance Agency until his retirement in 1984.
He was a Director on the board of First Federal Savings & Loan from 1973 to 1993. He also served as Commander of American Legion Post 10 in Mt. Pleasant, President of the Mt. Pleasant Rotary Club, Secretary of the Columbia Kiwanis Club, and a director of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Insurers of Tennessee. He also was a past Deacon and Elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia.
In 1946 Rufus married Carolyn Whitmer of Bowling Green KY. They raised three sons before she predeceased him in 1985. In 1986 he married Margaret Early blank who predeceased him in 1999.
He loved to fly as a pilot, play tennis, and dove and duck hunt. He also was an avid gardener and bridge player, and traveled extensively.
In addition to his wives Carolyn and Margaret, he was preceded in death by an infant son John Whitmer Ross; son Robert Whitmer Ross; brother William Meadow Ross; sister Ethel Ross Warren; and half-sisters Wilhelmina Ross Edgar and Christine Ross Kittrell.
He is survived by two sons, Rufus Christopher Ross III (Becky) of Brentwood and James Hudson Ross (Terri) of Columbia; daughter-in-law Brenda Mullikin of Greenville SC; sisters-in-law Ellen Day Ross of Chattanooga and Wimberley Cowan Burnette of Dallas TX; step-children Frederick Lee Blank III (Melanie) of Nashville, John Fletcher Blank of St. Louis MO, and Lawrence Blank-Cook (Charlie) of Nashville.
He is also survived by 15 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Columbia TN, the Boys & Girls Club of Columbia.

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