Samuel Bernard Ross Jr.

December 29, 1928February 28, 2018

Dr. Samuel B. Ross, Jr. died peacefully at the home of his son at the age of 89. Known to many by his childhood nickname, “Rollo,” he leaves a remarkable imprint on the nonprofit world and the lives of hundreds of children and families. Dr. Ross was the founder of Green Chimneys, the nonprofit school and human services agency providing education, residential treatment, and animal-assisted and nature-based therapeutic programs for children with special needs. Inspired by his own boarding school experiences and a genuine devotion to animals, Ross established the Green Chimneys School for Little Folk in 1947 – at just 19 years old – on a small dairy farm in Brewster, New York.

The original “farm school” opened its doors with just 11 young students, with Ross leading a small staff to provide academics, recreation, and a loving environment for the children, with the unique experience of interacting with and caring for animals. In the decades that followed, Dr. Ross developed Green Chimneys from a small private school into a renowned child care agency and special education school offering innovative education and therapeutic programs and services for children and adolescents. His wife, Myra, was with him every step of the way, joining his vision upon their marriage in 1954.

Dr. Ross was widely recognized as a leader and innovator in therapeutic education and treatment for children with special needs. His book “The Extraordinary Spirit of Green Chimneys: Connecting Children and Animals to Create Hope” is both a personal memoir and chronicle of how Green Chimneys came to be. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia, and received a Masters in Early Childhood Education from New York University. He later received his Ph.D. in human services administration from the Union Institute and University. Dr. Ross held an honorary doctorate from Salem College and countless honors and accolades from national and international humanitarian, advocacy and education organizations for his work in children’s services, humane education and public service. He also served on the board of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, the first of Paul Newman’s camps for children with life-threatening illness.

An active Putnam County resident for decades, Dr. Ross fulfilled roles in local politics and community affairs including two terms on the Board of Education for Brewster Central School District and as a board member of Putnam County Cooperative Extension. He was a devoted, long-time member of the Rotary Club of Brewster and a past District Governor of the organization’s District 7210. He, along with close friend Israel Mike Meyer, was also one of the founding families of Temple Beth Elohim in Brewster, NY.

Dr. Ross was loved by many, most of all, his family. He was the husband of 63 years to Myra; the father of David (deceased 1986), Donald, and Lisa who both live in Nevada; father-in-law to Mary; and the proud grandfather of Samantha Julia and Sara Adele.

A memorial service celebrating the life and legacy of Sam "Rollo" Ross will be held at Green Chimneys on Friday, March 9, 2018 at 4:00pm:

Green Chimneys Gymnasium, 400 Doansburg Road, Brewster, New York 10509 For memorial gifts, please visit


  • Memorial Service Friday, March 9, 2018

Samuel Bernard Ross Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Dian Mayo

March 6, 2018

Ethel Anne Chorney

March 3, 2018

I have so many wonderful memories of Sam, and Myra.... it was a privilege to know you and to spend time with you both. I will always cherish the memory of the many breakfasts at Lakeside with Sam ....a wonderful time for my family. Love to you always Myra, Lisa, and Donald. Sincere condolences, Ethel Anne

James Leach

March 1, 2018

Very sorry to hear about the loss of your Father Donald and Father-in-law Mary.

90 years is a long time but never long enough.

My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.

Jim Leach

C. Rudolph

March 1, 2018

I send my condolence to the family of Samuel Bernard Ross Jr. May happy memories of Samuel bring you comfort as we await the fulfillment of Acts 24:15, which gives us hope to be reunited with our dead loved ones