Mr. Wallace L. “Wally” Ross, 73, of Bristol, was found to have passed away peacefully of natural causes at his home on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 12:15 pm. He was born in Elkhart on September 24, 1946 and was the son of Wallace G. and Vernice W. (Rans) Ross.
Surviving Wally are his sisters Sue B. (Steve) Miller and Laurie Hodge, both of Elkhart and Starr-Ann (Allen) Niswander of Goshen; his brother Skippy L. Ross of Marion; step-daughter Tracy (William) Martin of San Tan Valley, AZ and step-grandchildren Nathan Moss of Phoenix, AZ and Sarah (Brandon) Salinel of Gilbert, AZ. He is also survived by a host of loving nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and good friends.
Billings Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Elkhart have been assisting the family with arrangements, and burial with graveside Military Honors will take place at the Prairie Street Cemetery’s Veteran’s Section in Elkhart on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 12:00 noon. The United States Marine Corps’ Funeral Honor Guard, along with Elkhart DAV Post 19, will render military honors. In accordance with the family’s wishes, cremation has taken place.
Wally first made a name for himself as a young marine 106 mm recoilless rifle gunner, attached to the 3rd Marine’s 1st BTN 4th Marine Division, serving in Vietnam. There, he earned the Marine Corps’ coveted “Combat V” device for heroism under enemy fire. According to official documentation, in the vicinity of Khe Sahn, Wally disregarded withering enemy machine gun and mortar fire to maneuver from one wounded soldier to the next, giving each medical attention that ultimately resulted in saving the lives of those fallen Marines. Additionally, he continued to brave the enemy fire as he led others to assist him in gathering up the wounded and carrying them back to the rear where he went on to assist in loading the casualties onto med-evac helicopters bound for safety. As a grateful nation, we give our thanks to Wally for his selfless sacrifice.
Once back in Elkhart, Wally went on to work a few places until he found a “home” at Bull Moose Tube in Elkhart, where he worked from 1972 until 2014 when he retired. Wally loved all things natural and spent much time outdoors enjoying the scenery and playing with his yorkie sidekick “Tootsie”, whom he adored. He was a talented life-long artist and enjoyed oil painting still life, nature (of course) and wildlife scenes; all of professional quality. Perhaps he even gave Bob Ross the idea for “happy little trees…”! He was also very interested in outdoor gardening and had amassed quite a collection of beautiful plants and flowers that kept him quite busy in the summer. Finally, he was very well known as an avid collector and enthusiast of Native American art and culture, as well as classic Americana antiques.
Modest and kind, Wally had a huge heart and was dearly loved by his step daughter and grandchildren. Wally lived his life to the fullest, and, as proven by his 33 year successful commitment to AA, he chose not to waste a moment of it!
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