A Life Lived: Peter Ross was a family man who enjoyed helping others

Published 12:20 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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Editorial Director
Peter Vincent Ross chose to make Elizabethton home when he married Catherine “Cathy” Clear 42 years ago.
Peter was a veteran, having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam era. He retired from the City of Elizabethton in the Water Quality Division and held all the water quality licenses, and that in itself is an interesting story.
Peter, before moving to Elizabethton, was a union man, who lived and worked as a pipe fitter in Knoxville. When he and Cathy married and moved from Johnson City to Elizabethton, no one wanted to hire him “because he was union, though knowledgeable and a good worker.” Cathy shared that her father, Jim Clear, who had retired as Supervisor of Public Works for the City of Elizabethton, asked John R. Campbell, who was over the City Water Department, to give Peter a job. “He did, starting him out as a ditch digger,” shared Cathy. However, he soon graduated from a ditch digger to the pump station and was capable of doing anything.
Peter was always helpful to people with water problems, especially the person on the other side of the leak, and he never outgrew the “ditch.” He was always ready to get in the ditch, dig, find and fix the problem.
He loved his family, especially his two daughters, Annie Elizabeth and Holly, and their children. He especially enjoyed outings to the lake with his family.
Peter grew up in Dayton, Tenn., the son of a minister, who worked in the Mountain Mission Camp, which was akin to the local Children’s Bible Mission Camp and ministry. In fact, his mother came up and cooked one summer at the CBM Camp in Watauga.
Peter enjoyed helping people and doing deeds of kindness. He was a caregiver for Cathy’s aunt, Peggy Merryman, and uncle, Lewis Merryman.
“Pete was such an interesting and caring person. He loved to take the kids fishing. He kept rabbits for the kids and helped them with their care. He never stood out in a crowd, nor did he like the limelight. He just wanted to be helpful wherever there was a need,” said Cathy.
“Pete had a great love for people, and he especially loved the people in this town. He made Elizabethton his town and his home and he enjoyed helping people not only with their water problems, but in any way he could. He wasn’t about the gold and glory. He worked hard and gave his best at what he did,” shared Cathy.
“My friends quickly became his friends after he moved here as he left his in Dayton,” Cathy shared.
She and Pete were UT football fans and enjoyed attending the Knoxville games.
After he became sick, he enjoyed watching TV.
Most everyone who knew or worked with Pete will agree that he was was a kind, fun-loving person, who never hesitated to take the hand of a person seeking help. “He was just that kind of person,” said a former associate.
Peter Vincent Ross died April 25 and was laid to rest at Happy Valley Memorial Park. Perhaps, we all can agree that the world needs a lot more people like Peter Ross. He made our community a kinder and better place to live.

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