William H. Ross III, 75, stockbroker, teacher, columnist

January 24, 2000|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

William H. Ross III, a retired stockbroker, died Tuesday of heart failure at Bon Secours Hospital in Baltimore. He was 75.

Mr. Ross was born and raised in Baltimore. He graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1942 and cum laude in 1953 from what now is Morgan State University.

From 1942 to 1945, he served in the Coast Guard as a fireman first class, stationed in the Pacific theater.

After college, Mr. Ross pursued graduate studies at American University in Washington and the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore while teaching history and English in Montgomery County public schools.

In the mid-1950s, an early stint in business led him to Gunther Brewing Co. in Baltimore, where he was a sales representative.

In 1956, he resumed his teaching career in the Baltimore public school system and was the first black instructor in the history department at City College. He taught history and principles of democracy at Cherry Hill Junior High School until 1966.

In 1967, Mr. Ross left teaching to pursue a career in financial services. He became one of the first black stockbrokers registered in Maryland and one of 50 black New York Stock Exchange registered representatives in the United States. He held positions at several major Wall Street firms, including Bache & Co.; Thomson, McKinnon, Auchincloss and Kohlmeyer; and Walston & Co., where he became a major stockholder.

From September 1978 until his retirement Feb. 28, 1990, Mr. Ross served as a commission representative and field investigator for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington.

Mr. Ross was active in state, civic and community affairs. He served as a member of the board of directors and a vice chairman of the Baltimore regional chapter of the American Red Cross; treasurer of the Baltimore and Maryland division of the American Cancer Society; and a governor-appointed trustee of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund.

He taught a weekly course on basic investment at Coppin State College, created investment clubs around the state, and wrote a column about the stock market for the Afro-American newspaper. He also served as chairman of the Coppin State College Foundation Board, chairman of the administrative board of Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church, and director of the United Methodist Foundation.

He received awards and citations for community leadership from the American Cancer Society, Coppin State, the Herbert M. Frisby Historical Society, the Baltimore City Council and the governor's office in Maryland. His organizational memberships included the 32nd Degree Mason-Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret, United Methodist Men, Beta Sigma Tau Fraternity, American Legion Post 213 and the Fleet Reserve Association Baltimore Branch No. 6.

Funeral services will be held at noon today at Sharp Street Memorial Church, Dolphin and Etting streets.

Mr. Ross is survived by his wife of 47 years, the former Margaret L. Kyler of Baltimore; two daughters, Maureen L. Vanneman of Woodstock and Gina E. Ross of Los Angeles; two sisters, Theresa F. Brown of Washington and Shirley E. Taylor of Baltimore; two grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and a niece.

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