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Tommie Edward Ross, Sr.
August 11, 1910-July 7, 1992
Words: 641

Most people who knew Tommie Ross knew certain things about him. Things like he loved a good joke . . . or even a bad joke. He always said, “I hope jokin’ don’t keep me out of heaven!”

Well, it’s pretty certain that nothing is going to keep Mr. Ross out of heaven, because there’s something else everyone knew about him: He loved the Lord.

And he not only practiced his beliefs inside Loving Baptist Church in Caruthersville, Missouri, every Sunday for more than 30 years, he practiced what he preached every day of the week by being a good neighbor, by being one of the hardest working men Mehrle Farms ever had, by speaking in a Christian voice (“Oh, hello!” and “I’ll be John Brown!” were his strongest words) and by raising seven of his ten children alone after his wife, Ethel, died in 1957.

Mr. Ross, as many people knew, was a strong, caring man who wasn’t afraid of very many things. One of the things he wasn’t afraid of was speaking his mind. Although he cared about people, he never hesitated to offer anyone his opinion, whether they wanted it or not.  But he’d listen when opinions were different from his own – and they often were!  For instance, Mr. Ross felt that he was merely practical in money matters; his friends often told him that he’d hold on to a quarter until the eagle screamed.

Although he had very little formal education, he could read the Bible with the best, and that's the book he read most. He was not only smart, but Mr. Ross was also said to be a man of great wisdom. He had such wise sayings as, “You know, common sense ain’t all that common”; “sleep will take care of itself”; and “if you’ll lie, you’ll steal”. But being both smart and wise didn’t keep him from doing something that seemed to many people to make no sense at all: after farming all day, he’d often garden half the night.

Those who knew Mr. Ross will miss a funny, strong, wise, caring, Christian man. Following is some information about him even those who loved him may not have known. 

He was born August 11, 1910, in Grenada, Mississippi. His parents were Lou and Nels Ross. His brothers and sisters were Nels, Elijah, Jimmy, Oliver, the identical twins Mary and Martha (May and Mat), Ellen (all now deceased), and Sam, who lives in Grenada, and Sydney, who lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.

His children are, from oldest to youngest:  Jessie, Charleston, Mississippi (deceased); Tommie Edward, Jr., Sandusky, Ohio; Eva Mae Beck, Inglewood, California; Mary Agnes Ford (Bennie), St. Louis, Missouri; Flyndol (Bob) (Ellen); William Nels, St. Louis, Dorothy Jean Horton, Detroit, Michigan; John Edward (Johnny), Sandusky, Ohio; Dora Lee, Elyria, Ohio; Gloria Stine (Wilson), St. Louis, and Darnell (Roy Donnell) (Gwen), Inglewood, California.

He married Ethel Booker in 1930. They moved to Steele, Missouri, in 1946 and then to Hayti, Missouri in 1954. He previously belonged to Brusher Fork M.B. Church in Grenada, Mississippi and King’s Chapel in Steele, Missouri.

He married Luella Jackson in 1962. His stepchildren are Louise Brant and Oba Jane Hollway of Chicago, Illinois; Josie May Jarvies, Caruthersville, Missouri and Anthony (Big Junior) Jarvies of Hayti, Missouri.

Mr. Ross had so many grandchildren and great grandchildren that he often said, “I’d go broke if I sent every one of ‘em a dollar for their birthday every year!” (So, of course, he didn’t send the dollar!)

All of the above-named people loved him, along with two devoted nieces who were like daughters to him (Beatrice Moore, East St. Louis, Illinois, and Lillie Waters, Detroit, Michigan) and so did many other nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and friends.

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