Frederick Arthur Ross died on Nov. 15, 2011, at his home in Cutchogue. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Bette (Willeman), and his stepchildren, Cathy, Don, Tom and Bob. He is also survived by the children of his marriage to Phoebe (Goldsmith), Pam, David and Nancy.
Art was born to Fred and Ruth Ross on June 23, 1923, in Brooklyn. He was educated in public schools on Long Island and graduated from Colgate University (Phi Beta Kappa, 1946) and Yale Law School (1949). He served as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
Art was admitted to the New York Bar in 1950 and worked in the legal department of the New York Life Insurance Company for 32 years, rising to the position of vice president. After retiring, he was of counsel to the firm of Redmond, Pollio, and Pittoni in Garden City, and served as an adjunct professor at Hofstra Law School.
Art and Bette found each other in 1971, after each had suffered the loss of their spouse. When they married, on Aug. 5, 1972, their seven children and one grandchild stood beside them. As the family grew, the greatest joy of his life was his 15 grandchildren and he eagerly awaited the news of the arrival of each new great-grandchild, now numbering 10.
Art and Bette moved to Cutchogue in 1986. In addition to being able to enjoy life on the North Fork full time, they were able to participate in regular gatherings of the extended family at their beach cottage, known as Gray Gables, on Great Peconic Bay. Art continued to swim, sail and scallop in the local waters well into his 80s. As the grandchildren and great-grandchildren multiplied, he was happy to become known as Captain Freddie to the growing tribe.
Art had a lifelong love of music that included jazz, show tunes, hymns, spirituals and classical music. He sang in high school musical productions, the Colgate Thirteen, church choirs, community singing groups and impromptu barbershop quartets when the family washed the dinner dishes in the kitchen at Gray Gables.
Throughout his life, Art devoted a great deal of time to community service including serving as director of the Colgate Alumni Corporation, the East Harlem Protestant Parish and the Long Island Community Foundation. He was also chairman of the Board of Trustees of Garden City Community Church, and taught the confirmation class for several years. After moving to Cutchogue, he worked with organizations devoted to preserving open space and farmland. He was chairman of the open space and land acquisition committees for the Town of Southold and was a trustee of the Robins Island Preservation Fund.
Private burial took place Nov. 19 at Cutchogue Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8, at Cutchogue Presbyterian Church.
For those who may wish to celebrate his life with a donation, Art was interested in the following: First Congregational Church (UCC), Riverhead, N.Y.; Colgate University, Hamilton, N.Y.; Ross Scholarship Fund, Mattituck High School; Cutchogue New Suffolk Library, Cutchogue, N.Y.; Community Action Southold Town (CAST), Greenport, N.Y.; and Doctors Without Borders USA.
This is a paid notice.