Florence E. Ross, 101, of Wausau, passed away on April 22, 2019. Her long, remarkable life began in Waunakee. She was the third child of six children born to Edward G. and Ruth V. Berkholtz on September 21, 1917. Her beloved parents, brothers, Paul and Robert, sisters Frances, Kathryn and Dorthy have preceded her in death.
Florence graduated from Delavan High School in 1935 and then attended Whitewater and Milwaukee State Teachers Colleges. Prior to World War II, she taught at Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delavan.
In 1940 Florence met Marlin Ross, a Marquette University student. A year later they renewed their acquaintance. In June of 1941, they became engaged and were married in September of that year.
In February of 1942 Marlin enlisted in the Navy. Following WW II, Marlin and Florence started their family in Fond du Lac where, in 1947, their first child Marlene was born. In 1951 they moved to Wausau for new job opportunities. There, fours daughters followed: Elizabeth, Ruth, Jean and Julia.
A teacher all her life, she never lost interest in learning. Florence learned signed language at age 50 and remained active in adult deaf education. She assisted in starting the Deaf Mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and was a religious education teacher for the Lutheran Deaf Missionary, Rev. Robert Corl.
Florence became a dedicated student of the Civil War when she learned her great-grandfather fought and died in battle. When she was born, women could not vote. Her interest in politics never failed, and she cast her last ballot in the spring election of 2019.
Following her husband’s death in 2012, Florence began a new chapter of her life with her move to Applegate Terrace. She proved her resilience as she adjusted to her new one bedroom “flat”. She enjoyed sharing her holiday spirit with others in her dining room, participated in church services and wouldn’t miss the monthly travelogues. Florence and her family genuinely appreciated the dedicated caregivers of Applegate. Florence was also blessed to have the loving care of daughters Jean and Julie, her closest family support.
Florence enjoyed an extended family of grandchildren. Rod Rueger (Amber), Tracey Winfree, Bill Fricke (Jen), Jeff Fricke, Katie Brooks (Andy), Katie Rich (Mike). As Grandma Great, she was delighted by her great-grandchildren, Abi, Mara, Kennedy, Nick, Jack, Aidin and Bastion.
Florence is further survived by daughters: Marlene (Roy Podolak), Elizabeth Fricke, Ruth Ross, Jean Ross,
Julia Ross (Andy Guenther), nieces and nephews in Arizona, California, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas and Wisconsin.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Helke Funeral Home, 302 Spruce Street, Wausau, WI 54401.
Visitation will be Monday, April 29, beginning at 11:00, followed by the service at 12:00 at Helke Funeral Home. Florence will be laid to rest at Restlawn Memorial Gardens. Memorial donations may be made to First United Methodist Church, 903 Third St., Wausau, 54403 (Special Needs Closet, The Memory Café or Missions).
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