Wendell Ralph Ross died on December 20, 2015, at home in Columbus, Indiana. He was born in McHenry, Kentucky, on July 6, 1934, to Clifton and Ethel Chapman Ross. Wendell grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, attended 9th & O Baptist Church, where he accepted Christ as his Savoir at the age of 9. He graduated from DuPont Manual High School in 1952, from Speed School, University of Louisville, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1957, and an MBA degree from Butler University in 1969.
Wendell was member of the NROTC at Louisville and received a commission as Ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve the day of graduation. He served on active duty with the Navy for three years and continued in the Naval Reserve until retirement in 1977 as a Commander. He Joined Cummins in 1960 as an application engineer and during 25 years served in various roles in middle management until early retirement in 1985. After leaving Cummins he served as manager of the Columbus Municipal Airport for 14 years until final retirement in 1999. While at the airport he served on the Board of Directors of the Aviation Association of Indiana (AAI), was named AAI’s Man of the Year in 1995 and represented Indiana in the Great Lakes Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives. Following retirement he was active as a Visitors Center architectural tour guide, a volunteer at Love Chapel, and as a helper to many in the community. He was a founding member of the Atterbury Bakalar Air Museum and was an active member throughout retirement. He was a 25-year member of the Columbus East Kiwanis Club, a past Distinguished President and former member of Columbus Lions Club.
Above all, he was an active Christian member at First Baptist Church starting in October 1960. He served in various capacities and on boards throughout his life, participating in mission trips in several states, as well as Indiana and Bartholomew County.
He was married to the love of his life, Janice Louise Christy, on September 16, 1957, at 9th & O Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. They first lived in San Diego, California, while he was on active duty with the Navy, moving to Columbus in June of 1960 when he took a position as an engineer with Cummins.
He and Janice were blessed with a daughter, Sabrina, in 1961, and with a son, Wendell Alan, in 1963. Sabrina and her husband Brian Hunter reside in Fairland, Indiana, and were blessed with five grandchildren, Kaylie (John) Bruinsma of South Bend, Indiana, Caleb Ross (Megan) Hunter of Arlington, Washington, Erin (Nathan) Timm of Muncie, Indiana, Clarissa and Aubrey W. Alan and his wife Christine, who reside in Merrillville, were blessed with three daughters, Michelle of Indianapolis, Jill and Julie.
He was preceded in death by his parents and is survived by three sisters, Mildred Jean Dishion, Wilma Sue Fox and Sharon Lynn (James) Coslett, all in the Louisville area. He has many nieces and nephews from both sides of the family.
Memorials in his memory may be made to First Baptist Church Foundation of Columbus or the Atterbury Bakalar Air Museum.
A memorial service will be conducted at First Baptist Church at 2:00 p.m. December 23, 2015, with Pastor Dan Cash officiating. Internment of his ashes will be placed in the columbarium at the church. Calling will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 23rd before the memorial service.
Arrangements were entrusted to Jewell-Rittman Family Funeral Home.