|Birth: ||Jun. 28, 1929|
West Virginia, USA
|Death: ||Jun. 24, 2009|
MILDRED A. ROSS was a pioneer. When she ventured out to the Main Line to work in a beauty salon in Narberth in the early '50s, she was one of the first African-American women to do so.
She encountered racism, as white customers said "they didn't want her to touch their hair".
"They said they were going to leave, and the owners told them to go ahead and leave".
"But they eventually came back and they learned to love her. They would say, 'I want that little black girl to work on my hair.' "
Mildred Ross, a hair stylist and hair-color specialist who later worked for the Philadelphia School District as a paraprofessional and classroom assistant, died Wednesday. She was four days from her 80th birthday. She lived in West Philadelphia.
She is remembered as a determined woman, she told her children, sometimes you have to stick and stay, that you have to work for what you get out of life.
Mildred was still in the Apex Beauty School when she was hired to work as a shampoo girl at the Gary & Elliott shop, in Narberth. After she earned her cosmetology license, she worked full time and advanced to greater responsibilities. She was there about 25 years before she left to work for the school district.
Mildred was also a champion bowler who participated in tournaments around the country. Her late husband, Wilbert Y. Ross, owned a bowling alley at 56th and Chestnut streets.
His wife started bowling there. She traveled as far away as California and Nevada, as well as to Virginia, Florida and other states with the Washington Committee Bowling Club and the New Image Bowling Club in New Jersey, among others.
Mildred also worked for a time for the New York City School District when her husband was working there. She specialized in special-needs children, reflecting her true caring heart.
Mildred was born in Coaldale, W. Va., the eldest of the three children of Samuel and Irene Cardwell. In her youth, she loved to dance and competed in numerous dance contests with her late brother, Samuel Cardwell Jr. She loved music and sang in the choir of the Bluestone Missionary Baptist Church, in Bramwell, W. Va.
She graduated from Elkhorn High School, in Elkhorn, W.Va., and moved to Philadelphia, where she got married and had five children.
Mildred had a gift for befriending people of all ages and backgrounds. Her home was always open to family, friends and strangers for food, fun and fellowship.
An excellent cook, her sweet-potato pies and lavish Thanksgiving dinners were special treats for family and friends. She was also known for the spectacular Christmas decorations that she installed around her home.
Her husband died in 2004. She is survived by four daughters, Sandra, Brenda, Cheryl, and Cathy, a son, Wilbur, an adopted son, Stuart, a sister, Ruth Ross, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Services: Thursday at Sharon Baptist Church, 3955 Conshohocken Ave.
Burial in Rolling Green Memorial Park, West Chester.
Wilbert Y. Ross (1936 - 2004)
Rolling Green Memorial Park
Created by: Andie Parrish
Record added: Jun 29, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 38871092
Added by: Anonymous
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