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1940 Thomas 2023

Thomas Ross

November 14, 1940 — April 3, 2023


Thomas Craig Ross, 82, longtime lover of baseball, music and movies, of McArthur, California, died April 3, 2023, from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Tom (or Tommy) was born on Nov. 14, 1940, to John Leroy and Helen (Halsted) Ross in Los Angeles, California. He moved with his family to Indio, California, around 1950.

Tom was an athlete his entire life. He played baseball, basketball and football throughout elementary and middle schools. At Coachella Valley High School in Coachella, California, Tom was the tailback on the football team as well as its captain his senior year. He participated on the basketball team all four years. He graduated from CV in 1958. 

He attended Orange Coast College where he continued his football career as a quarterback. 

He always claimed his academic career was hampered by, as he put it, “living at the beach and having LC Smith as a roommate.” 

He continued his education at Long Beach State College and then transferred to Arizona State University in spring 1962.

In 1963, he married Wanda Dean Harrison of Indio, California, and they had two daughters.

In his 30s, he was part of Jim Fixx’s running craze, logging 3-5 miles daily and chronicling his runs in his running journal.

He continued his daily running routine into his 70s.

He was also an avid hiker who enjoyed hiking the California mountains. Several times he traversed Mt. Tallac as well as Mt. San Jacinto and Mt. San Gorgonio with his favorite hiking buddies: Jerry Hylton and Oliver Reinertson.

His last hike was in October 2022 in the hills behind his property.

Tom was known for his classic (and consistent) wardrobe of white T-shirt, OP shorts, calf-high white socks and meticulously clean running shoes. In cold weather, he would substitute sweats in place of the shorts.

Tom was an enthusiast for early rhythm & blues as well as country & western music. He often could tell you not only who sang a song, but also who wrote it, what year it was released and what label released it.

He was the OG of creating mixed tapes when the ability to record on cassette tapes was introduced. He spent much of his life making lists in pursuit of the greatest-of-all-time country songs (Roy Orbison, Merle Haggard and George Jones songs always topped that list) as well as making lists for the greatest-of-all-time rock ‘n’ roll songs (The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt would always top that list).

When he wasn’t making mixed tapes, he was a prolific reader. Robert Parker was his favorite author but he also enjoyed  C.J. Box, Michael Connelly and John Grisham. His good friend Charlie Clark made sure he always had a fresh supply of books.

In 1996, Tom and his second wife Lori bought 13 acres in McArthur, California. They spent the next five years building a three-bedroom, two-bath log cabin on the property. They moved there to live year-round in 2005 and later divorced. 

The log cabin with the wood-burning stove was his pride and joy. He challenged himself to figure out how to complete every aspect of construction from walls to doors to the roof. 

He often said, “I was never a plumber, an electrician or a carpenter, but I built this house; I figured it out.”

Tom is survived by his daughters, Timi and Cindi, and his son-in-law Rick (whom he always referred to as “Uncle Wick”); and his nephew John Ross.

As “Papa Tom,“ he is survived by his five grandkids: Jeff, Shawn, Sam, Spenser and Jess; and his great-granddaughter Aizley.

He is survived by three of his four-legged children (his cats): Annie, Charlie and Lucky.

He is also survived by his ex-wife Lori Ross.

He was preceded in death by his mom Helen Ross, dad John Leroy Ross, his brother Timothy Scott Ross as well as his first wife Wanda Ross.

He was also preceded in death by two of his four-legged children (his cats): Sarah and Blackie.

Tom was a loyal friend. Many of the friendships he maintained began 70 years ago. He is survived by his loyal friends Rob Burnett, Charlie Clark, Lon Harris, Jerry Hylton, Jimmy Montoya, Tito Ramirez and Lovell Smith.

He was preceded in death by loyal friends Bart Caramello, Kris Reinertson and Oliver Reinertson.

Tom will be interred at Coachella Valley Public Cemetery District in Coachella, California. A memorial will be held in La Quinta, California, on July 1. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation: or you can text “PFFTribute1283” to 71777.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas Ross, please visit our flower store.


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