OBITUARY

Jane Derryberry Ross

June 7, 1940March 7, 2019
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What can I write about my mom? She was too big a soul to fit into a couple of paragraphs...too bright of a light...too much of a personality. She touched everyone she met. Everyone knew when she walked into a room, and nobody ever forgot her when she left. I wish she had known the strength of her presence as much as the rest of us did.

She was born to humble beginnings, brought into this world at her Grandmother’s home in Abilene, Texas, on June 7, 1940 — daughter to Viola Etheridge and Albert Derryberry. She mostly lived with her grandparents in Abilene, as her mother, step-father and half-brother traveled the country in various jobs.

It seems she was musical even coming out of the womb. She learned how to play the piano almost before she could walk, and sang beautifully even as a child. When she got to high school she was very active in the choir and in plays and musicals.

She knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life once graduating from high school and started realizing that dream at the University of North Texas in 1958. She was an active member of Alpha Phi, and performed all over the university as a soloist and as part of the University choir. Her crowning achievement was to star as Laurie in Oklahoma her senior year.

It was during her time at college that she met her future husband, and my father, Patrick. They met in the music department where he played in the orchestra. According to her, and also to my father, he pursued her mercilessly.

Before she married my father, and after graduating from college, she moved to Denver, Colorado with three of her sorority sisters and taught Elementary school music. It was also in Denver where she discovered her love for the outdoors and especially skiing. If she wasn’t working, she was skiing.

After Denver, she married my father - who was then in the Air Force - and moved to Washington, DC where he was stationed. She taught elementary school music and taught piano in Maryland. She was also privileged to sing The National Anthem with the Air Force Band several times for different events in and around the DC area.

At this time is when her career began in earnest. All she ever wanted to do was sing. She began auditioning and ultimately performing for the Northern Virginia Opera Company, the Fairfax Opera, Prince Georges Opera, and the Washington Opera. She acquired an agent in NYC where she sang with the Metropolitan Opera company. During that time, she supplemented her income by teaching voice and piano inside our home. I remember many nights in my room listening to her teach her students to sing. Many of those students became her close friends, and good family friends. Because that’s my mom. She never met a stranger.

After my mom and dad divorced, we moved into a smaller house in Falls Church so I could stay in my high school. To this day, I have no idea how she did it alone. But she did. God bless her.

Not too long after, she met and married her second husband, Barry. They stayed in the DC area until 1994 when they both retired, bought a massive RV and left the east coast for the desert southwest. They stayed on the road for 11 years. Along the way they met the most amazing people, saw the most amazing things, and had the experience of lifetime. I was completely jealous, but also fortunate enough to be able to visit them in many different places. Our favorite place was Moab, Utah. We met there many times through many of my vacations to travel the back roads in their old Land Cruiser exploring the rocks, ruins, and petroglyphs of the area.

They got tired of moving around, and decided to settle in Alpine Texas. There my mom met and fell in love with so many amazing people. Her church was her life. She re-invigorated and re-built the church choir, actively recruiting and teaching along the way. She was so proud of them. She also performed solos with the Sul Ross University choir, and the local philharmonic orchestra.

Unfortunately, life can sometimes be cruel, and circumstances changed. She began to show signs of forgetfulness and dementia. She was unable to care for herself alone anymore, so she moved to Raleigh with me. She lived with Kevin and myself for two years. And yes, she made many friends in Raleigh as well – most notably, her “sister from another mister”, Charlsena Walker, Kevin’s mother, whom she lovingly called “Charlie”. She would often walk her dog Betsy around the neighborhood, stopping to talk to everyone who was outside. We even get presents and cards from those neighbors because of her. She also spent her days in daycare while I was at work, again making great friends while making everyone’s day brighter.

Unfortunately, two serious injuries made it impossible for her to stay with us, and her Alzheimer’s was getting worse, so we moved her to Sunrise of Raleigh to receive the best care she could get. Yep. Made amazing friends there as well.

She succumbed to death on March 8, 2019 due to a serious fall which left her in a coma. It was peaceful. Fortunately I was able to be there, holding her hand the entire time.

I know that she is with her beloved grandmother and all of her family in heaven. I take comfort knowing that she is watching over me, and all of us now. There will be a time when it is MY time to leave here, and I know she’ll be there to light my way and lead me wisely in death, as she did in life.

Rest in peace my beautiful mother. You are loved and will always be loved by everyone who had the privilege to know you.

In lieu of flowers, please donate in the name of Jane Ross to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org)

Services

  • Memorial Service Saturday, March 23, 2019
REMEMBERING

Jane Derryberry Ross

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Marcia Jarrell

March 22, 2019

From the first moment I met Jane, I felt a sense of happy rush over me. Her beautiful smile and laugh and warm hug always made me feel like everything was ok in the world. She reminded me of my "second mom" from my childhood and that would stir up such great feelings in me. She was a joy to be around. She always wanted to help others and she did. To say she was special only scratches the surface of her kind spirit. I am grateful that Stephanie gave me an opportunity to spend time with her mom!

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Biography

What can I write about my mom? She was too big a soul to fit into a couple of paragraphs...too bright of a light...too much of a personality. She touched everyone she met. Everyone knew when she walked into a room, and nobody ever forgot her when she left. I wish she had known the strength of her presence as much as the rest of us did.

She was born to humble beginnings, brought into this world at her Grandmother’s home in Abilene, Texas, on June 7, 1940 — daughter to Viola Etheridge and Albert Derryberry. She mostly lived with her grandparents in Abilene, as her mother, step-father and half-brother traveled the country in various jobs.

It seems she was musical even coming out of the womb. She learned how to play the piano almost before she could walk, and sang beautifully even as a child. When she got to high school she was very active in the choir and in plays and musicals.

She knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life once graduating from high school and started realizing that dream at the University of North Texas in 1958. She was an active member of Alpha Phi, and performed all over the university as a soloist and as part of the University choir. Her crowning achievement was to star as Laurie in Oklahoma her senior year.

It was during her time at college that she met her future husband, and my father, Patrick. They met in the music department where he played in the orchestra. According to her, and also to my father, he pursued her mercilessly.

Before she married my father, and after graduating from college, she moved to Denver, Colorado with three of her sorority sisters and taught Elementary school music. It was also in Denver where she discovered her love for the outdoors and especially skiing. If she wasn’t working, she was skiing.

After Denver, she married my father - who was then in the Air Force - and moved to Washington, DC where he was stationed. She taught elementary school music and taught piano in Maryland. She was also privileged to sing The National Anthem with the Air Force Band several times for different events in and around the DC area.

At this time is when her career began in earnest. All she ever wanted to do was sing. She began auditioning and ultimately performing for the Northern Virginia Opera Company, the Fairfax Opera, Prince Georges Opera, and the Washington Opera. She acquired an agent in NYC where she sang with the Metropolitan Opera company. During that time, she supplemented her income by teaching voice and piano inside our home. I remember many nights in my room listening to her teach her students to sing. Many of those students became her close friends, and good family friends. Because that’s my mom. She never met a stranger.

After my mom and dad divorced, we moved into a smaller house in Falls Church so I could stay in my high school. To this day, I have no idea how she did it alone. But she did. God bless her.

Not too long after, she met and married her second husband, Barry. They stayed in the DC area until 1994 when they both retired, bought a massive RV and left the east coast for the desert southwest. They stayed on the road for 11 years. Along the way they met the most amazing people, saw the most amazing things, and had the experience of lifetime. I was completely jealous, but also fortunate enough to be able to visit them in many different places. Our favorite place was Moab, Utah. We met there many times through many of my vacations to travel the back roads in their old Land Cruiser exploring the rocks, ruins, and petroglyphs of the area.

They got tired of moving around, and decided to settle in Alpine Texas. There my mom met and fell in love with so many amazing people. Her church was her life. She re-invigorated and re-built the church choir, actively recruiting and teaching along the way. She was so proud of them. She also performed solos with the Sul Ross University choir, and the local philharmonic orchestra.

Unfortunately, life can sometimes be cruel, and circumstances changed. She began to show signs of forgetfulness and dementia. She was unable to care for herself alone anymore, so she moved to Raleigh with me. She lived with Kevin and myself for two years. And yes, she made many friends in Raleigh as well – most notably, her “sister from another mister”, Charlsena Walker, Kevin’s mother, whom she lovingly called “Charlie”. She would often walk her dog Betsy around the neighborhood, stopping to talk to everyone who was outside. We even get presents and cards from those neighbors because of her. She also spent her days in daycare while I was at work, again making great friends while making everyone’s day brighter.

Unfortunately, two serious injuries made it impossible for her to stay with us, and her Alzheimer’s was getting worse, so we moved her to Sunrise of Raleigh to receive the best care she could get. Yep. Made amazing friends there as well.

She succumbed to death on March 8, 2019 due to a serious fall which left her in a coma. It was peaceful. Fortunately I was able to be there, holding her hand the entire time.

I know that she is with her beloved grandmother and all of her family in heaven. I take comfort knowing that she is watching over me, and all of us now. There will be a time when it is MY time to leave here, and I know she’ll be there to light my way and lead me wisely in death, as she did in life.

Rest in peace my beautiful mother. You are loved and will always be loved by everyone who had the privilege to know you.


In lieu of flowers, please donate in the name of Jane Ross to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org)