Steven Thomas Ross
Steven Thomas Ross, age 79, of Portola Valley, CA, passed away peacefully on March 8, 2022.
Steve was born in San Francisco on July 13, 1942 to Dorothy and David Ross and was raised on the San Francisco Peninsula. After graduating from Menlo-Atherton High School, he attended Purdue University and received a BS in Electrical Engineering. Having completed four years of ROTC, Steve was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army and provided logistical support to the 82nd Airborne Division with the US Forces, Dominican Republic.
Upon completing his military service, Steve enrolled in Tulane University’s MBA program. During his final year, he married Karen Strandhagen, his college sweetheart. After graduating, Steve and Karen returned to the San Francisco Peninsula and for forty years, resided on Palo Alto’s Christmas Tree Lane where they raised their children, Peter and Meredith (Duffy).
Steve’s first job was selling semiconductors for Signetics. In 1970, he joined Ross Marketing Associates, a manufacturers’ representative founded by his father in 1947, where he spent the next 31 years selling electronics and managing the company.
Steve’s professional accomplishments included serving as President of the Electronic Distribution Show; Chairman of the WESCON trade show; Trustee of the Manufacturers’ Representative Educational Research Foundation; and Senior VP of the Electronics Representatives Association. In addition, he earned a Certified Professional Manufacturers Representative (CPMR) credential from Indiana University; received the Electronic Representative Association’s White Pin and Life Membership awards; and served as a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic and Engineers.
Taking early retirement in 2001 and following Karen’s lead, Steve became an active community volunteer. He served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate where he mentored four teenage boys. He also volunteered at the Downtown Food Closet in Palo Alto, served as a classroom aide and conversational tutor in the Palo Alto Adult School’s ESL program, tutored young readers at five local elementary schools, volunteered in a citizenship class, served as a director of YMCA of the Mid-Peninsula, and tutored English conversation classes at the Menlo Park and Palo Alto libraries.
Steve’s personal interests included amateur radio (W6HKX), California and military history, Stanford athletics, golf, travel, classic cars, gardening, raising koi, classical music, and poster art. He was proud of his long-time affiliations with the Palo Alto Club and the Palo Alto University Rotary Club. As a Rotarian, Steve proudly served as club President and Assistant Governor of the district. In addition, he was pleased to have donated blood on more than 100 occasions.
In 2017, Steve and Karen moved to The Sequoias, a retirement community in Portola Valley. While there, they enjoyed hiking on Windy Hill, feeding neighboring horses, playing croquet, and socializing with friends and neighbors.
Steve wishes to be remembered for being generous and making people laugh. He survived by his wife, Karen Ross; his son and daughter, Peter Ross and Meredith (Duffy) Ross; his son-in-laws, Greg Watts and Carlos Babij; and his grandchildren, Maya Babij-Ross and Camila Babij-Ross.
Services are pending. In lieu of flowers, donations to Child Advocates of Silicon Valley or Mission Hospice would be appreciated.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 12, 2022.