Bill E. Ross

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Mr. Bill E. Ross, age 78, a local attorney and civic leader, passed away October 1, 2018 at River Oaks Care Center, Steele, Missouri. He was a former Municipal Judge of Blytheville Chickasaw district, and a former public defender.

Mr. Ross is survived by his wife, Carol Frankum Ross; one son, William Frankum Ross; three sisters; Nancy Stevens and Linda French, both of Blytheville; Janet Owens (Charles) of Jackson, TN.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Geraldine and Elbert Ross, as well as one brother, Richard Ross.

Bill leaves a legacy of church involvement. He was committed to civic and professional involvement as well. As a young adult, Bill became a member of the Disciples of Christ (First Christian Church) in Blytheville. He served as a deacon and Chairman of the Board and, he was Trustee of the Church until he became too ill to serve.

He was born and reared in Blytheville and graduated from Blytheville High School in 1958. He left Blytheville in 1962 to attend the University of Arkansas. Mr. Ross graduated from the University of Arkansas Law School in 1968 with a Juris doctorate Degree. While in law school, Bill served as Editor of the Arkansas Law Review. He was named outstanding law student his senior year as well as President of Phi Alpha Law Fraternity.

Bill began his professional experience as an attorney in 1968. He received an “A” (highest) professional rating by Martindale Hubbell, the nation’s leading legal rating service. His professional experience included: President of Arkansas City Attorney’s Association; member of the original House of Delegates Arkansas Bar Association; Special Justice Arkansas Supreme Court; Served as one of the first delegates to Arkansas Bar Association House of Delegates; Member of Arkansas Building commission 1975-1978; Member of Arkansas and Blytheville Bar Association; Licensed to practice in Arkansas, Federal Courts, and United States Supreme Court.

Civic involvement was something Bill took pride in and enjoyed. His passion was being involved in the founding of Mississippi County Community College, later named Arkansas Northeastern College. He was an original member of the MCCC steering committee. His profound belief that Blytheville and the surrounding area should have access to a college education and vocational training fueled his passion. He served as board chairman and was a member of ANC Board of Trustees for seventeen years.

Bill’s other civic involvement included; Co-founder of Blytheville Big Brothers; Member of Blytheville/Gosnell Chamber of Commerce; United Way Board Member; Blytheville/Gosnell Regional Airport Industrial Development Authority board member; Blytheville Unlimited Group member; President and member of Blytheville Ritz Civic Center Commission.

A memorial service will be held at the First Christian Church, 600 West Main Street in Blytheville. The service will be Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 4:00 pm with visitation preceding the service at 3:00 pm.

Officiating at the memorial service will be First Christian Church minister, Holly Jo Engle: former FCC ministers, Dr. Tommy Carney and Dr. Keith Hearnsberger. Dr. Hearnsberger will also provide the music.

Memorials may be sent to First Christian Church.

The family wishes to thank First Christian Church and our officiating ministers, our family and friends for their love and support. We would like to thank Dr. Ron Smith and Dr. Arshad Abdullah for their care. The family is grateful to River Oaks Care Center in Steele, MO and Melissa, and the entire staff who cared for our loved one with such love and compassion. The family would also like to extend a special thank you to Matt, a terrific helper, and friend.