Bates honors longtime Bates official with Ross Endowed Fund

The United Baptist Church of Lewiston and Central Maine Medical Center are receiving nearly $500,000 each and Bates College is receiving nearly $1 million from the estate of Norman ’22 and Marjorie Ross ’23, the three institutions announced.

“Norm and Marjorie Ross were essential parts of our community and its institutions for nearly a century and these gifts extend their impact for perpetuity,” said Bates College President Donald W. Harward. “They gave of themselves and they understood how endowed funds are essential to the vitality of an institution committed to the service of others. We are deeply grateful to them and the model of genuine commitment and support they offered to this community.”

The Norman E. Ross ’22 and Marjorie Pillsbury Ross ’23 Endowed Fund of Bates College will be an unrestricted endowment that will be used at the discretion of the trustees and president for support of the general purposes of the college.

The CMMC bequest will be used to establish the Norman E. and Marjorie P. Ross Endowment to support the general operations of Central Maine Medical Center, according to William W. Young, Jr., president and CEO of Central Maine Healthcare, CMMC’s parent company.

The Rev. Jon M. Vermilion, pastor of the United Baptist Church of Lewiston, said trustees would discuss uses of the bequest in future meetings.

In 1941, Ross was elected to the board of trustees of the then-Central Maine General Hospital. During more than 50 years of service to CMMC, he served on a number of boards and committees, including as chairman of the buildings and grounds committee, overseeing many hospital construction projects. He was the board’s chairman from 1960 to 1962.

Both Rosses were members of the United Baptist Church of Lewiston for more than 70 years, and both served as deacons, trustees and Sunday school teachers.

Norman Ross died in June 2000 at the age of 101. A 1922 Bates physics and mathematics graduate, Ross was known for his careful management of Bates’ financial resources, his personal devotion to Bates community life and his civic work in Lewiston and Auburn.

Ross began his 44-year career with Bates in 1924, when he was appointed assistant bursar. In 1928 he became bursar and superintendent of grounds and buildings. He was named treasurer in 1963. Ross retired in 1968 and was awarded an honorary master of arts degree from Bates.

In 1924 he married Marjorie Pillsbury Ross, a 1923 Bates graduate. The Rosses lived at 32 Frye St. near campus for 72 years, opening their home to Bates visitors and former students. He was a familiar figure at Bates athletic contests and served as a volunteer track official at Maine college meets for many years. In a 1978 interview with The Bates Student newspaper, Ross said, “Bates has truly come to be my school. I’m so involved with the college that anything that benefits the school, in a sense, benefits me.”

Marjorie Pillsbury Ross was active in the life of the college and community for most of her adult life. She was a substitute teacher in the Auburn schools for several years, and also taught in the Auburn adult evening school. As a member of the Lewiston United Baptist Church, she was a deaconess, taught Sunday school classes in the high school department, was the first president of the Women’s Society, and also was past president of the Lewiston-Auburn Council of Church Women. During her younger years she was active in the Lewiston-Auburn YWCA, serving as president and treasurer.

She helped to establish the Twin Cities Community Chest (now the United Way) and served on its board of directors as well as the home service committee of the local Red Cross chapter. In her later years she became active in the Women’s Literary Union of Androscoggin County, serving twice as its president and expanding its membership and its programs. She was a life member of the Central Maine Medical Women’s Hospital Association.

The Rosses moved to Russell Park Rehabilitation and Living Center in 1994. In January 2000, Bates named the former Ross home, now a popular coffeehouse for Bates community members, the Norman E. and Marjorie P. Ross House. Central Maine Medical Center recognized Norm Ross’ more than 50 years of service to the hospital in 1991, when it named an 89,000-square-foot addition the Norman E. Ross Centennial Wing.

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