Cover photo for William Jarboe Ross's Obituary
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William Jarboe Ross

May 9, 1930 — November 17, 2022

William Jarboe Ross

William Jarboe "Bill" Ross, a native of Oklahoma City and the son and grandson of '89ers, died peacefully on November 17, 2022 at St. Anthony's Hospital, where he was born 92 years earlier on May 9, 1930. Bill's paternal grandfather, George Ross, made the land run of 1889 on the Santa Fe Train from Gainesville, TX. George staked his claim on California Street, where the former Cox Convention Center stands, and built the Bakery of Indian Territory. Bill grew up on the southwest corner of 16th and Marion where his house now graces the entrance to The Plaza District. Bill was an only child and lived with his parents, grandmother and aunt. His family belonged to St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, and he attended Rosary Elementary and Classen High School. At the age of 10, he was a paperboy, quickly achieving the largest Saturday Evening Post paper route. He worked at Pettee's Hardware and, when he turned 13, was a delivery boy for H. Dorsey Douglass Office Supply. From the age of 14 through law school, Bill worked after school and during the summer at Liberty National Bank, starting in the mail room and moving to a teller position. Bill graduated in 1952 from The University of Oklahoma with a degree in business administration. In 1954, he obtained a law degree from The University of Oklahoma College of Law. After law school, Bill worked at the Oklahoma City Municipal Counselor's office before joining Rainey, Flynn, Green and Anderson as an associate in 1960. He became a partner of the law firm in 1965 and, after his mentor Gordon Rainey passed away, senior partner in 1975. At that time, the firm was renamed Rainey, Ross, Rice & Binns. Bill's law firm served as outside counsel for OGE, Santa Fe Railroad and The Oklahoma Publishing Company, to name a few. He helped clients, including E.K. Gaylord, Edward L. Gaylord and Edith Kinney Gaylord, with their estate planning and corporate needs. Bill met with Edith every week at his office at The First National Center followed by lunch at The Beacon Club. In 1982, working with Bill, Edith founded Inasmuch Foundation and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. Later, after Bill's son Bob graduated from The OU College of Law, they worked together for 20 years leading the foundation. At the time of his death, Bill served as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors of Inasmuch Foundation.Bill met his wife Mary Lillian Ryan in October of 1961 on a double date. After a short courtship, Bill and Lil married on May 19, 1962 and were married for 60 years, building a family and a community of loving friends. Bill and Lil made their home in Oklahoma City, joining Christ the King parish. Bill served the church as chairman of the finance committee and he and Lil were faithful and committed parishioners. Bill was very passionate about Oklahoma City and serving the non-profit community, including the following positions: Co-Chairman of the OU College of Law Board of Visitors, President, St. Anthony Hospital Foundation; Chairman, Oklahoma Heritage Association Committee on Teaching of Oklahoma History; Member, Oklahoma City Mayor's Historical Preservation Committee; Member of Oklahoma City Bi-Centennial Commission; President, William Fremont Harn Homestead Museum; Director, Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra; Director, Oklahoma City Philharmonic Society; and Director, Oklahoma City Educare. For the federal bar, Bill was selected by U.S. Senator Don Nickles to chair the Federal Judicial Nominating Committee for the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, an important role in selecting the judges to serve the Western District. Additionally, Bill served the Western District as a member of the Admissions and Grievances Committee. Bill was tapped to serve a number of corporate boards for his legal and financial expertise, including: United Energy Resources Corp; PetroUnited Terminals, Inc.; Hadson Petroleum Corporation; Clinton and Oklahoma Western Railroad Company; Boatmen's First National Bank; Nations Bank of Oklahoma; and First Interstate Bank of Oklahoma. For his service and leadership, Bill received multiple honors he cherished. He received OU's highest honor, an honorary degree in Humane Letters in 2012. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2015 and the OU College of Law's Order of the Owl Hall of Fame in 2011, the inaugural year. He was honored with the OU Regents' Alumni Award in 2000; Oklahoma City University Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2005; Oklahoma City Public Schools Wall of Fame Humanitarian Award in 2005; Distinguished Graduate Award – Rosary School in 2006; Plaza District's Urban Pioneer Award 2011; University of Oklahoma Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2012; Lyric Theatre John Kirkpatrick Award in 2012; and Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor, Meinders School of Business, Oklahoma City University in 2014. He is survived by his loving wife Mary Lillian Ryan Ross, his children Rebecca Anne Ross Roten (Alan), Molly Kathleen Ross Fuhrman (Chris) and Robert J. Ross (Heather), and his grandchildren William Ross Roten, Caroline Marie Roten, Robert Austin Fuhrman, Charles Goodwin Fuhrman, Lillian Margaret Ross and Francis Joseph Ross.In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Bill's honor to The University of Oklahoma College of Law or Christ the King Catholic Church. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30AM Monday November 21, 2022 at Christ the King Catholic Church.
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Past Services

Mass of Christian Burial

Monday, November 21, 2022

Christ the King Catholic Church

1401 NW 23rd St, Oklahoma City, OK 73106

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