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Leroy Garfield Ross, Jr. entered life on May 16, 1951, in Prince Edward County, VA. He was the first child born to the union of the late Leroy Garfield Ross, Sr., and Mary Theresa (West) Ross (now Ghee). The Lord gave him his wings and called him home to Heaven on October 10, 2023, in Richmond, VA. Leroy accepted God at an early age and was baptized at Monroe Baptist Church Rice, VA. However, his young life was molded and shaped at First Baptist Church, Farmville, VA. It was there that its pastor, the great Civil Rights leader, The Reverend L. Francis Griffin, Sr. mentored and nurtured him in the movement, and treated him like a son.
When the Public Schools were closed in Prince Edward County due to the infamous Massive Resistance (to Integration) movement, Leroy continued his education in a "Training Center" set up in the basement of the church. (When schools reopened, Leroy was performing at or above grade level.) He wrote for and was part of the editorial staff of an all-student produced community newspaper called "The Voice of Prince Edward County", published there also.
He attended school through the Prince Edward County Public School System. He was a very good student and graduated (in the last class) from historic Robert R. Moton High School (Farmville, VA) in 1969 as a top-five student and member of the National Honor Society. His many academic awards include ones from competition with other schools, such as Debate, Drama, and various Team competitions. He also was a good actor - sometimes playing lead - in the Drama Club productions. He was part of the Marching Band.
But his main legacy was formed when he was one of the leaders of a student walkout protest calling for, primarily, the dismissal of a bigoted school Superintendent, the addition of Blacks to the all-white school board and the reinstatement of a popular teacher who was terminated for political purposes. The demonstration made national news and was successful in achieving most of their demands. He was Editor-in-Chief of his high school yearbook that pictured the walkout on the cover.
Leroy was a community activist in his school years. He participated in many pickets and demonstrations for equal rights in the Farmville, VA area. He was a member of the Prince Edward Council on Youth Human Relations. He joined the "Sing Out Students"; a high school/college youth empowerment singing group at Longwood College.
After graduation, Leroy attended Virginia State College on an academic scholarship. He graduated with a B.A. Degree in Political Science in 1974. While there, he got to know L. Douglas Wilder (later the first Black Governor of VA) while he was in the VA State Senate. He campaigned for him and provided opinions and support on some political topics and policies on the legislative agenda.
Leroy's true passion in life was his love of sports - whether viewing, playing, coaching or later officiating. He was a diehard, lifelong Raiders fan, same for Lakers. He prided himself on being proficient in the major sports. He was a very good basketball player and was known for driving to the basket and being able to score on much taller players. He played in tennis and bowling leagues as well.
His sports legacy is tied to softball, however. He began playing league ball in the late 1970's in Richmond with "B. T. Express" along with some of his former high school classmates and friends. They won many tournaments. But he made his mark in coaching. He coached over 35 years for both Women’s ("Newbirth") and Men’s ("UFO's") teams. He had two rooms in his home filled with, literally, a couple hundred trophies, plaques and awards for outstanding wins and accomplishments. To top it all off, he was awarded a Hall of Fame distinction and commemorative ring for 35 years of excellence by the United States Slow-pitch Softball Association (USSSA). He also worked as a softball umpire in several Richmond area leagues for approximately 25 years.
Leroy started his work career as an accident insurance agent for Combined Insurance in 1974. He worked house-to-house in the northern and central VA areas. He later moved to Richmond and was employed for many years on the corporate sales team for General Electric. It was there that he met and soon married the former Corretta Brown. One child, Duane Ross, was born of this union. He then stepped out on his own and created his own electrical fixtures business for a few years. Later, he worked for Dixie Electric Company. Finally, he created his own courier business. He contracted and delivered mostly time-sensitive medical supplies throughout Virginia. He continued this business until health issues required him to stop.
He was preceded in death by his father Leroy Ross, Sr., sister Geraldine O. "Gerri" Brown, brother Wayne Ghee, nephews Malik Ross and Dale "G-Man" Ghee, Jr., and his stepfather Albert Alfronzo Ghee.
He leaves to cherish her memory: his son, Duane Ross of Richmond, VA, his mother Mary T. Ghee of Spotsylvania, VA; great-aunt Elsie West of Farmville, VA; "special cousin" Freda House of Prince George's, MD; two brothers, Carl Ross of Capitol Heights, MD, Dale Ghee of Spotsylvania, VA; two sisters, Deborah (Raymond) Evans of Salem, CT, Deacon Patricia (Lloyd) Fox of Spotsylvania, VA; niece Kastine Evans; five nephews, Wardell ‘Rocky’ (Michelle) Woolfolk, Alonzo (Angela) Woolfolk, RJ (Ashley) Evans, Patrick (Keisha) Ghee, Brandon(Theresa) Ghee; "lifetime best friend" Edward Thornton; "adoptive brother" Carl Eggleston; goddaughters Tammy Thornton, Angie Moore; many great-nephews/nieces; many cousins and friends.