Elmer William Ross transitioned from this life on Sunday, September 27, 2020 at Hospice of Dayton. Elmer (affectionately known as “Bill”) was born on June 28, 1929 in Dayton, Ohio. The eldest child of Emma and Theodore Ross, he attended Dayton Public Schools until he left to join the Army Air Corps in 1945 at the age of 15.
He served with the 332nd Composite Bomb Group of the Tuskegee Airmen, and completed his service in the Pacific Theater as a fireman in the Crash Station. Bill returned to Dayton, began work with BG Danis, and married his childhood neighbor and friend, Glenna M. Hill on November 9, 1950. He also joined Corinthian Baptist Church, where he remained a faithful member until his death. In 1956 he was hired as the first African-American firefighter at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He served for twenty-six years, retiring as a Fire Chief in 1982. He continued to pursue his passion for flying by obtaining his private pilot’s license and maintaining his bond with his beloved Tuskegee Airmen for as long as he could participate. For many years, he loved visiting the Dayton Air Show, volunteering, telling his story, and enjoying the fellowship and camaraderie of his fellow Airmen.
Bill and Glenna were very active socially. Their parties were legendary! For many years, they hosted an annual African Party in their backyard, as well as black tie affairs and parties at the Lakeview Palladium. They truly believed in sharing their blessings with family and friends. Elmer was a longtime member of the “G”Men and EPPO’s social clubs as well.
Bill is preceded in death by his loving and faithful wife Glenna, his parents, and brothers Paul and Theodore Ross. His memory will forever be cherished by his siblings: Virginia Hayes, Leonard Ross, Gwendolyn Usher, (Dayton, OH), Lynn (Janice) Ross (Huntsville, AL) sister-in-law Velma Parks Ross; devoted children: Vickie Williams (Alvin, Beaumont, TX), Stephen Ross Sr. (Karen, Dayton, OH), and Annelga Weaver (Donald, Freeport, NY); loving grandchildren: Stephen Ross Jr. (Allen, TX), Naya Ross (San Francisco, CA), Karma Webb (George, Dayton, OH), Aaron Thompson (Elk Grove, CA), Linda Williams (Houston, TX), Dayna Diffley (Kevin, NY), Aaron Weaver (NY), Darian Weaver (NY), adoring great-nephew Anthony Whitney (Ernestina, Orlando FL); great-grandchildren: Stevey E. Ross, Stephen Ross III, Savanah Ross, Knox Diffley. Bill is blessed to have many nephews and nieces, cousins, caring neighbors, and extended family members and friends, both near and far. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: Corinthian Baptist Church Scholarship Fund, 700 S. James H. McGee Blvd. Dayton, OH 45402
Private family graveside services will be held on Tuesday October 6, 2020 at the Dayton National Cemetery. A celebration of Bill’s life and legacy will be held at a later date. He will forever be loved and truly missed.
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