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Ross wouldn’t have changed anything

Ross wouldn’t have changed anything
Artist Tom Ross died at 73.

An artist widely known throughout Wesson for his paintings of familiar landscapes, a long teaching career at Co-Lin and his dedicated participation in the life Decell Memorial United Methodist Church has died.


Tom Ross settled with his family in Wesson near the Co-Lin campus when he came to the college in 1975 to teach drawing, painting, art history and appreciation and ceramics -- work he continued until his retirement in 2013. 


            Asked for a Wesson News story a few years how he would change his life, he asserted enthusiastically: “Nothing!”


            A Jackson native, Ross graduated from Murrah High School (1968) and Mississippi College (1972), where he earned his degree in art after deciding not to pursue studies in chemistry or mathematics.  In 1974, he received his Masters Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Georgia (UG).  He turned down his first opportunity to teach art as a graduate assistant at UG for a better-paying job as a janitor at the school until Mississippi College invited him to return as a visiting art professor to substitute during the summer for a teacher, who was on leave.  The next stop was Co-Lin.


            During his teaching career and into his retirement, Ross also honed a reputation as an accomplished painter.  His favorite subjects were landscapes in which he incorporated family members and friends when he painted them.  His most recent paintings were watercolors, but he worked in oil, acrylic, water-miscible (mixable) oil and egg tempera.  When he wasn’t teaching or painting, the chances are you could find him fishing somewhere -- in the fresh waters of his backyard pond, Lake Lincoln and varied rivers in Mississippi, the Ozarks and Wyoming; or in saltwater at Orange Beach and off the Mississippi coast.  In his retirement, he maintained a studio at his beloved Decell Memorial United Methodist Church where he was lay leader and volunteered as yard man on its property.  He worked on his own private paintings and commissioned projects, and experimented with colors and shapes on computer in his studio two or three days a week.


            Over the years, Ross supported work of the Southern Poverty Law Center and United Methodist Committee on Relief, and organizations that assist orphaned animals.


Ross and his wife, the former Gayle Megginson, whom he met at Mississippi College and married in 1971, lived on the Co-Lin campus for twenty-five years before moving to the Brookhaven area after the college sold their house.  They adopted a daughter, Arwen, and had three grandchildren.  


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