Daryl Dwane Ross, 60, passed away Feb. 17 in Burns.
Daryl was born July 23, 1954, in Lodi, Calif. The Ross family moved to Baker County when Daryl was in the seventh grade. His dad, Jerry, managed several ranches in the Baker/Keating area.
Daryl graduated from Baker High School in 1972 where he was a standout basketball player. His basketball honors included all-league honors, all-state honors and numerous school records. He was also active in high school rodeo as a team roper and calf roper. After graduation, Daryl attended Montana State University on a full-ride basketball scholarship. At Montana State, Daryl received Big Sky Conference basketball honors and earned his bachelor’s degree in agri-business. Upon graduating, he played semi-pro basketball in Mexico and Europe and received an invitation to try out for the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Supersonics.
Daryl demonstrated his work ethic at an early age, working ranch jobs in his youth, such as changing irrigation hand line for 10 cents per pipe. As an adult, Daryl worked at Municipal Pipeline Supply and Warnock Ranches in Baker, and Peila Ranch in Burns. He also worked many side jobs, such as building fence, operating equipment, and various construction projects. Daryl proudly stated that he “never turned down a paying job.” After moving to Burns in 1989, he began his 23-year career as a heavy equipment operator for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Daryl spent many hours operating the dozer and water tender on BLM wildfires. He was well known for his ability and determined attitude. He never hesitated when asked to tie into a line, regardless of the terrain or fire activity. He was equally known for his outgoing personality at the fire camp, as he had a natural camaraderie with the crew. He always had a smile on his face and a quick wit that was enjoyed by all who knew him.
Daryl was also extremely handy, a “jack of all trades.” He prided himself in a job well done and never settled for anything less. In his spare time, Daryl completely remodeled the family home, helped neighbors and family with home and property improvements, and was constantly tinkering in his shop. With Daryl’s inventive nature, he was always looking for ways to be more efficient.
However, Daryl’s real pride was his girls. He was always involved in their activities, and he found opportunities to support them in any way that he could. He used his talents to coach their youth sports teams, build their 4-H pig box, build an ice-skating rink, and construct a roping arena. He built a heated indoor basketball court in the barn, spent countless hours sharing his passion of competitive play, and never missed a game no matter the sport. Erin and Chelsea always said he was their strongest supporter, but also their toughest critic because he was always pushing them to be better. He was a terrific father who supported them both on and off the court. Daryl relished family time, not only with his daughters but with all of his extended family.
Some of Daryl’s best memories were spent on Wagontire Mountain; camping, hunting, fishing, playing poker, and leading four-wheeler excursions. Over the years, Daryl found many passions, but most notably basketball, team-roping and later, golf. He loved the mental aspect of golf and always said that “your mind was your most powerful muscle.” He was determined to perfect his short game and swing, and spent countless hours on the golf course. Always a competitive person, everything could be made into a competition with the high-stakes of a quarter bet.
Despite his diagnosis of ALS, Daryl was determined to live life to the fullest. He retired from the BLM in 2011, and spent much of the following three years on the golf course and with his family.
He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Ann (Peila) Ross; daughters, Erin Jenks and husband, JJ, and Chelsea Kagan and husband, Aaron; three grandchildren, Sonora, Copeland, and Simon; siblings, Charlie Ross, Ernie Ross, and Jane Fallon; and numerous other relatives.
Daryl was preceded in death by his parents, Gerald and Helen Ross; and siblings, Karen Bossert and DeAnna Anderson.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at the Burns Elks Lodge. A dinner, prepared by the Elks, will follow the service.
Contributions may be made to the Valley Golf Club Grounds Improvement Fund in Daryl’s memory or the ALS Association, through LaFollette’s Chapel.