Ross was born on May 30, 1949, in Greenville. He attended Greenville High School and graduated from Ruleville High School after moving to Sunflower County with his family. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1968. Before deploying overseas to fight in Vietnam, he married his high school sweetheart, Virginia Faye Holiman, in June 1968.
Upon returning from war, Ross accepted a scholarship to play football at Delta State College — now Delta State University — graduating in 1976 with a degree in criminal justice.
Throughout his life, Ross worked as a farmer, salesman and small business owner. In his 40s, he followed his passion and became a chef, cooking for restaurants, country clubs and country music star Dolly Parton before poor health forced him into early retirement.
He was preceded in death by his father, William Ross “Red” Smith, and stepfather, Richard E. Milburn.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Virginia Smith; his mother, Anne Milburn of Ruleville; his daughter, Margery Beck of Omaha, Neb.; his son, Brandon Smith and daughter-in-law, Angel Smith of Oxford and four grandchildren.
Visitation was from 1-2 p.m. Monday at the Ruleville United Methodist Church. A funeral service was at 2 p.m. at the church with Rev. Mary Huston officiating. Burial followed in the Lehrton Cemetery in Ruleville.
Pallbearers were Newt Carver, Doug Clark, Johnny Nichols, Eddie Givens, Marshall Henderson, Chris Smith, and David Smith.
Honorary Pallbearers were grandsons, Stratton Smith, Sharp Smith, and Slay Smith.
Williams and Lord Funeral Home in Ruleville was in charge.