Riley Henderson Ross, Jr. transitioned from earth to glory on Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 at the age of 70.
Riley was born October 17, 1948 to Riley Henderson Ross, Sr. and Rosie Dell Elliot-Ross in Lubbock, Texas. Riley accepted Christ at an early age and worked diligently to uplift the kingdom of God through service to the many churches he attended throughout his life.
Riley joined the United States Navy after graduation from Waller High School, Chicago. IL. Duty stations included the Naval Legal Service Office, Atlantic Fleet Headquarters Naval Station Norfolk, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC and aboard the USS Independence and the USS America aircraft carriers. After 20 years of exemplary service, Riley retired with the rank of Senior Chief, (E-8). Following retirement, Riley was employed with a U S Government contractor as a Jet Fuel Analyst. He relocated to Norfolk and was employed as a Patient Accounts Representative with Sentara Healthcare.
Riley had a thirst for knowledge. He enrolled in Technology and Management courses at the University of Maryland and studied Public Administration at Upper Iowa University. Riley received a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Averett University, and a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Norfolk State University. He continued his quest for knowledge at Tidewater Community College, receiving an Associates Degree in Mortuary Science.
Riley loved music of every genre- from the Rev. James Cleveland to the Jazz Crusaders. His favorite R & B group was the Temptations. Riley could name all of the original Temps and their replacements. Though he was a big fan of the Motown Sound, he loved his Chi-town recording artist that included Gene Chandler, Jerry “Iceman” Butler, Curtis Mayfield, The Drifters and Lou Rawls.
Riley is known by many monikers. As “Mr. Hospitality”, Riley never met a stranger. He enjoyed socializing, and was often the life of the party. He provided temporary housing to friends seeking shelter. Riley ensured that you were well fed and comfortable, lacking for nothing while in his care. He considered himself the “Grill Master”. Riley took pride in his grilling skills, always commenting, “that’s the way we do it in Texas”. Riley enjoyed going fishing, especially on the Chesapeake Bay.
As the Dallas Cowboy’s #1 fan, the franchise has lost one of its most ardent supporters. On game day Riley would wear his favorite Cowboys regalia, sit in his favorite Dallas Cowboys chair and “coach” the game. If they won, you would hear him down the block, “How ‘bout dem Cowboys”? If they lost, it usually took 48 hours for him to get over it.
As “Family man” Riley’s love was endless. He and Michelle formed an unbreakable bond of family love, support and dedication. As “Big Daddy” he loved his “meces to pieces”- daughters, Courtney-Bianca, Whitney Simone (Nathaniel) and Destiney Capri. That same love flowed to his grandchildren- Christian Alexander, Kevin James and Mackenzie Alexandria. He began his legacy with his union to Helen Williams which produced sons, Riley Henderson Ross, III, (Teri-Clay & Gracie) Robert Ross (Shauna, Robert, Kevin, Christopher (deceased)) and daughter Darlene (Steve- Monterra, Steve, Marquis and Daylen).
Affectionately known as “Brother”, Riley’s siblings include sisters Lucille Sanders and Hattie Jo Rogers, both of Chicago, IL and brother Al Jesse Ross (Earnestine), of Apollo Beach, FL. He was predeceased by his brothers, Carl Edward Young, James Henry Young, Jr, and sisters, Una Marie Sims and Sally Malsack.
To the host of his nieces and nephews Riley is known as “Uncle Big Bad”. To his many friends, family and military comrades he was simply known as “Ross”.
Riley shared a special friendship with Florine Hye and her family.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.