Cover photo for John Ross's Obituary
John Ross Profile Photo
1947 John 2023

John Ross

November 4, 1947 — February 21, 2023

John Ross passed peacefully surrounded by family at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital on February 21, 2023. John, beloved husband of 50 years to Andrea Ross, will be deeply missed. Adored brother of Donna-Marie Fraleigh. Loving father of Gavin Ross (Jenny) and Katie Albisser (Greg). Cherished Papa to Oliver, Jack, and Annie Albisser and cherished Grandpa to Isla and Finley Ross. Favourite “out-of-town uncle” to all his nieces and nephews.

John, Johnny, JR, FFJR was a gentleman with impeccable taste and extremely high standards. Always one to don his cap and offer a firm handshake, his refined etiquette will be passed through generations…or else!

Sharp as a tack and sometimes just as prickly, he was the strongest man in life and in death. As comfortable in his 5-piece suit (“only second-class citizens remove their jackets”) as he was in wool socks and duct-taped cuffs, he was somewhat of an oxymoron.

John was a respected farmer who raised exceptional Charolais cattle (Frenchie and Buckie among the favourites). He grew the best and sweetest corn, setting an impossible standard to which no other cob can compare. Eventually, together with Andrea, he designed and built Harvests Plus, a specialty store with fine foods and even finer people.

Rarely without a Pepsi cube, a Camel Filter, or a can of Raid, he adored being in nature but waged war against the insects, enshrouded in a cloud of 100% deet. He taught his family the art of camping and adventuring in the wild; dragging his sometimes reluctant but always game wife through some harrowing adventures, leaving them with memories to cherish forever.

The finest fisherman, he stalked pickerel in northern waters and elusive trout in rivers wild with one of the tightest loops an Orvis rod could produce.  His stonefly imitation could turn a big brookie and bring fish to hand. A true sportsman, his children and grandchildren will forever share his immense love for the chase and the satisfaction of a tight line.

Captain of boats, airplanes, automobiles, and reindeer zephyrs; he was a tremendous fisherman, a pilot, a talented golfer in disintegrating shoes, a pigskin hurling QB, a Scuba diver, an extraordinary tinkerer, a master chef and food critic, and a recipe curator who leaves behind thousands of treasured recipes and descriptive comments.

Designer and builder of boats, homes, bunkies, Harvests Plus, and a stairway to heaven, he was a man who could pour a mean martini but also knew to pour gas in a spark plug to fix an engine.

With his impressive bank of knowledge, he was a master of cryptic crosswords and Wordles; he was ‘oft to break into the recital of poetry and had an endless supply of idioms. Second father to many of Gavin and Katie’s friends, he was never one to shirk the responsibility of filling gaps in the ‘less educated’ or going head-to-head in debates on any topic. John was not a religious man but could often be heard referencing ‘Jesus Christ Andi.’

He loved booze cruises, lighting fires to take away the dampness, eggnog with freshly grated nutmeg, a good sit (often described in too much detail), and driving with his trusty co-pilot and purveyor of egg salad sandwiches (crusts off). And many miles they travelled; he researched extensively and never hesitated to cover great distances to source a Christmas goose or cross the border to replenish his stash of bear spray, 100% deet and, well ahead of his time, his Fuzzbuster.

He gave a wicked horse bite and taught each grandchild to drive the boat before they could sit up, though no one could thread the needle for a perfect landing as well as he. While teaching he was sometimes gentle in his approach with nods of approval…or disapproval; at other times he would grab the wheel and steer the course, muttering under his breath.

JR leaves us with many gifts; one of the greatest being the spectacular blue-roofed bunkie on the Northern shores of Camp Lake. Every detail down to the Stella-soaked moss between the patio stones, he carefully conceived and created with the help of his team of eager apprentices. One only need approach a window ledge at the cabin if in need of a lure, duct tape, WD40, nautical lights, afterbite or a half-eaten bag of Cheetos.

In his final days, John’s team of healthcare heroes were so quickly enamoured by him that they paid him visits off-shift, shared tears and laughter with us, and over and over said what a fine man he was. JR took his leave at precisely 5 p.m.; just in time to begin his eternal happy hour. In honour of this most wonderful, kind and exceptional man, let’s raise our glasses and exclaim “94! Crank it!”

A celebration of life will occur this summer in London. Memorial donations may be made to his exceptional healthcare heroes at https://www.healthmuskoka.ca/donate/ .

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a River Runs Through It.”

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

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