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Ross Bennett Mathis

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Ross Bennett Mathis

Birth
Lamesa, Dawson County, Texas, USA
Death
18 Oct 2013 (aged 84)
Lynnwood, Snohomish County, Washington, USA
Burial
Coupeville, Island County, Washington, USA GPS-Latitude: 48.2048682, Longitude: -122.706456
Plot
Pratt Addon Space 71
Memorial ID
View Source
Ross Bennett Mathis, age 84, longtime Coupeville resident, passed away following an extended illness in Lynnwood, Washington on October 18, 2013.

Mr. Mathis was born in Lamesa, Texas on April 23, 1929, to Walter and Rosalie (Woolsey) Mathis, and was the youngest of seven children. Born just before the beginning of the Great Depression, Ross and his family worked as tenant farm workers around west Texas, picking cotton and beans. At times, they were homeless and he recalled sleeping under bridges or out under the stars. His formal education stopped after the 7th grade, but he continued to educate himself and practiced drawing and painting with his mother, also an artist. In later years he went on to take civil engineering courses at the University of Washington.

Ross enlisted in the Navy in 1947. He was injured while on duty and was sent to the naval hospital in Bremerton, Washington, where he first fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. After he recovered from his injury and was discharged from the Navy in 1948, Ross bought a strawberry farm in Deming, Washington and invited several of his family members to live and work on the farm. His older brothers trained him to become a bricklayer and stone mason.

A decade later, Ross set sail on a passenger ship to Australia, where he worked as a bricklayer and lived out of a Volkswagen van. He lived there from 1962 to 1966, traveling from job to job and seeing the country. He eventually returned to the Northwest, and was living in Seattle when he met Geraldine Ann ("Gerry") Rock. After two weeks of courtship, he proposed, and only several months later, the couple wed at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church in Seattle on May 18, 1968. They lived in Ballard and Mukilteo before settling in Coupeville in 1975, where Ross almost single-handedly designed and built the family home.

Ross continued to work as a bricklayer on Whidbey Island, building specially designed chimneys and other structures. Unlike many men at that time, he stayed home to care for his two young daughters for several years. He produced many paintings, most with science fiction themes, which he exhibited at the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival and the Island County Fair. In retirement, he worked on his paintings and also designed and built a dome observatory in his front yard. Ross was a former member of the Whidbey Island Radio Control Society, where he designed, built, and flew radio control model airplanes. He and Gerry were also long-standing members of the Whidbey Presbyterian Church.

Ross was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 45 years in September. He is survived by his daughters Sheila Hurtt (Chris) of Portland, OR and Susan Schalla (James) of Edmonds, WA; his four grandchildren, Aidan and Enya Hurtt and Maren and Robyn Schalla; also, by many nieces and nephews.

A private interment will take place at Sunnyside Cemetery.
Ross Bennett Mathis, age 84, longtime Coupeville resident, passed away following an extended illness in Lynnwood, Washington on October 18, 2013.

Mr. Mathis was born in Lamesa, Texas on April 23, 1929, to Walter and Rosalie (Woolsey) Mathis, and was the youngest of seven children. Born just before the beginning of the Great Depression, Ross and his family worked as tenant farm workers around west Texas, picking cotton and beans. At times, they were homeless and he recalled sleeping under bridges or out under the stars. His formal education stopped after the 7th grade, but he continued to educate himself and practiced drawing and painting with his mother, also an artist. In later years he went on to take civil engineering courses at the University of Washington.

Ross enlisted in the Navy in 1947. He was injured while on duty and was sent to the naval hospital in Bremerton, Washington, where he first fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. After he recovered from his injury and was discharged from the Navy in 1948, Ross bought a strawberry farm in Deming, Washington and invited several of his family members to live and work on the farm. His older brothers trained him to become a bricklayer and stone mason.

A decade later, Ross set sail on a passenger ship to Australia, where he worked as a bricklayer and lived out of a Volkswagen van. He lived there from 1962 to 1966, traveling from job to job and seeing the country. He eventually returned to the Northwest, and was living in Seattle when he met Geraldine Ann ("Gerry") Rock. After two weeks of courtship, he proposed, and only several months later, the couple wed at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church in Seattle on May 18, 1968. They lived in Ballard and Mukilteo before settling in Coupeville in 1975, where Ross almost single-handedly designed and built the family home.

Ross continued to work as a bricklayer on Whidbey Island, building specially designed chimneys and other structures. Unlike many men at that time, he stayed home to care for his two young daughters for several years. He produced many paintings, most with science fiction themes, which he exhibited at the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival and the Island County Fair. In retirement, he worked on his paintings and also designed and built a dome observatory in his front yard. Ross was a former member of the Whidbey Island Radio Control Society, where he designed, built, and flew radio control model airplanes. He and Gerry were also long-standing members of the Whidbey Presbyterian Church.

Ross was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 45 years in September. He is survived by his daughters Sheila Hurtt (Chris) of Portland, OR and Susan Schalla (James) of Edmonds, WA; his four grandchildren, Aidan and Enya Hurtt and Maren and Robyn Schalla; also, by many nieces and nephews.

A private interment will take place at Sunnyside Cemetery.


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