William J. Ross

Born in Wichita, KS on July 10, 1956

Departed on February 12, 2010 and resided in Nashville, TN

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Ross, William J. "Bill," age 53, died February 12. He is survived by his wife Barb Chojnowski Ross and daughters Kelly and Casey; by his mother Ruth Ross Nichols; sister Ethel Hewlett and her husband Richard; brother Robert Ross; as well as many other family members and friends. Preceded in death by his father Robert Ross and stepfather Arthur Nichols. Visitation is Thursday Feb. 18 from 4-7 p.m. at Christ Presbyterian Church, 2323 Old Hickory Blvd., Nashville. Memorial service is Friday Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. at Christ Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to InterFACE Ministries iface.org and/or contributions may be made to an education fund for his daughters: Bill Ross Family Education Fund c/o Pinnacle Bank, 150 3rd Avenue South, Suite 101, Nashville, TN 37201. HARPETH HILLS FUNERAL HOME, 9090 HWY 100, 646-9292 www.harpethhills.com.

15 Comments to William J. Ross

  1. Doug Rucker
    February 16, 2010 12:00 am

    I worked with Bill at Tracy-Locke 1984-1988. We shared a love for great illustration and James Taylor. We kept in touch over the years…a little more frequently when we found each other on FaceBook. My prayers and condolences go out to his family. The world is a little less funny now with Bill’s passing.

  2. Jennifer and Steve Rundberg
    February 16, 2010 12:00 am

    We are so very sorry–no words right now would be able to convey our heart and our thoughts. Please know that we are thinking and praying for you and the girls–and that we will help you in any way that we can. I am so very sorry.

  3. Stuart & Suzi Price
    February 16, 2010 12:00 am

    Barb, Kelly, and Casey,
    We are so sorry for your loss. Barb, it’s been such a blessing getting to know you better with each passing day. Stuart always enjoyed seeing and visiting with Bill at just about every Church or school function. We will miss him dearly. Know that you and Kelly and Casey are in our prayers. We love you guys. Suzi & Stuart

  4. Willie Baronet
    February 16, 2010 12:00 am

    Bill and I were friends and colleagues, and our relationship really deepened as we got to know each other online. We were both regular contributors to a blog called Illustration Friday, and often commented on each other’s drawings. I saw Bill when he was in Dallas a few months ago. We had a deep and authentic conversation over breakfast, shared drawings and talked about our lives, our fears, our accomplishments and all that we didn’t know. I do know this, Bill had a deep love for his family and friends, and was a kind, gentle, encouraging soul. I miss him, and send blessings to his family.

  5. Brenda Joyner
    February 17, 2010 12:00 am

    We worked together many times in the 80′ and 90′. We will miss you. Peace my friend.

  6. Mary Erikson Washam
    February 17, 2010 12:00 am

    Bill and I worked together literally, side by side at Tracy-Locke in the late 80’s. He was always upbeat and could pry a smile out of anyone. I hope he is at peace. My deepest sympathies to Barb, Kelly and Casey.

  7. John Goodman
    February 18, 2010 12:00 am


    I am so very sorry and sad to here the news of Bill’s passing. Our friendship started in college and I was lucky to know him. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  8. Dave Jirrels
    February 18, 2010 12:00 am


    I went to school with Bill at Wichita State and we were room mates for a short while in Dallas before he moved to Nashville. I am so sad to hear of his death. Bill was a wonderful, energetic, and creative guy. I have great memories of his wit and humor.

    You and your family will be in my prayers.

  9. Emmy & Marco Alings
    February 20, 2010 12:00 am

    Dear Barb, Kelly and Casy,
    Are minds and hearts are with you in this moment of great sadness. We will always remember the warm welcome Barb and Bill prepared for us when we arrived in Nashville 1997-1998. We have read Bill’s books with our children Bob, Tim and Max many times. Bill will continue to live in our meomories.

    Marco & Emmy Alings

  10. Emmy Alings
    February 20, 2010 12:00 am

    dear barb, and girls, i yust received a mail from susan cox about the tragedy.
    I asked e-mail and tel. number of you but did not receive any. As soon as i have you’re number ill give you a call.
    We are thinking of you a lot in these last days. How sad. I have no background information so i will contact you soon. Know you as a strong person, i’m sure you will manage to give this a pace in you’re life at any moment. love Emmy

  11. Joe Orth
    February 21, 2010 12:00 am

    It is a sad day to hear of bill’s death. I met Bill in 1976 and was amazed at his talent that came to him so easily. I asked him how he did it and said it was already there to just draw…what a talent.

    I remember when he met you Barb, his life was changed the day he met you! He was the happiest guy and it on go tbetter with time.

    I have a high school drawing of an old tennis shoe Bill drew in high school. It was hanging on his bedroom wall on Flora and he was not very proud of it, but I was amazed by it and have it to this day.

    I have been thinking of our antics in college, he was loved by all.

  12. Lou Brooks
    February 26, 2010 12:00 am

    Dearest Barb and family…

    Mere language never conveys feelings such as this, but you and your family are in our hearts right now, Barb.

    How well and warmly I remember meeting you and Bill years ago when I visited Nashville to speak to the graphics community. You both opened up your hearts and your house! to both me and Clare, and Bill and I have stayed in touch and remained good pals ever since, albeit at a cyber distance. Holiday cards and letters signed with a drawing of a duck bill and a piece of barbed wire. My own inscribed copy of his book. “Hey! That’s Not What The Bible Says!” I still have each and every one of them.

    When we arrived in Nashville, Bill was the one that gave up a few days to drive us here and there, pointing out places around Nashville which he obviously loved so much.

    Some people come into your life and just make you feel good no matter what. I’ve only met maybe a dozen like that, and Bill was one of them. Good bye, sweet Bill. Thank you so much for crossing my path here on Earth. Rest in peace, my friend, and I’ll be seeing you again some day.

    Lou Brooks and Clare Vanacore Brooks

  13. Bret Haines
    May 6, 2010 12:00 am

    Bill was and will always be a rock star in my mind.

    I only recently learned of his passing. He and I had multiple projects together and my calls to Bill with some work for hire were always highlights of my day. They were always met with the same punch line,… “Hey Bret,… what’s wrong? Travis Foster and Drew White were not available?” He was the only illustrator I would trust to just hand off a concept and make it better. It never EVER failed. He is a rock star.

    I also recall some of your Christmas cards that Bill designed and I recall a visit to my office with daughter “Kelly-Smelly-Belly” sorry Kelly when she was quite young,… his love for family was self-evident.

    Another friend of ours, Drew White, and I were lamenting the fact that we found out so late of Bill’s passing. Both of us are huge fans of Bill… the man and his work! He is a heroic figure to us. To many. I can see it in the letters here. He is well-loved. We tried to get him to join us on a weekly lunch get together but he was a man in demand. We felt privileged to be considered colleagues. Heck, we WERE privileged to be colleagues.

    I’ve thought of writing to you personally, Barb. I’ve read much on Bill’s passing and I would invite you to contact me or drop me a line should you ever want to share in good memories of a good man.

    Bill leaves behind a legacy that I celebrate. I haven’t mourned his passing so much as I have celebrated his life. The man has made people smile. He continues to make me smile. Knowing he is gone makes me miss him but he’ll always live forever through his work, his family and his friends. Of that I have no doubt.

    Heaven has a great spot for Bill, and it is no doubt drawn funny. And from his vantage point there, he sees us all while we are here. It will be good to see him again!

  14. Ron Evans
    July 14, 2010 12:00 am

    I always remember Bill: brilliant, artistic, independent thinker. We have so few of his ilk in the church today. Bill was willing to be so much more honest than most -his vulnerability was raw and rare. He was passionate and compassionate, gifts that enhanced his creative talents.

    Bill was God’s gift to us for a while. I will miss him.

  15. Robert Beattie
    December 14, 2010 12:00 am

    My condolences to Bill’s family.

    Was working on my Christmas card list and learned to my shock that Bill died. We attended West High together in Wichita. I believe it was our junior year when Bill wrote and illustrated SCRUPLES, as fine a piece of work as I’ve ever read. We both were writers and were on the track team together. We kept in intermittent touch over the years. Bill was as kind, thoughtful, creative, and perceptive as anyone in our over-crowded high school during those roller-coaster years in the early 70s. I was looking forward to seeing him again at our next reunion. He will be missed and remembered.

    Robert Beattie
    Wichita, Kansas