Donnie Mae Measday Ross was born on May 30, 1931 in Tucson, AZ to Cyril Thomas and Ruth Shibley Measday. She grew up in west Texas and considered Fort Stockton her hometown. Donnie studied at Texas Western College for two years, then transferred to Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Political Science in 1952; she later completed her Master’s In Education at Arizona State University.
Donnie worked at KTSM-TV El Paso briefly and taught journalism and English at El Paso Technical High School for two years. In 1956, she moved to Phoenix where she worked as a substitute teacher and counselor at Orme Ranch while earning her Arizona teaching certification. A mutual friend introduced her to the love of her life, John McCandlish Ross; they were married April 6, 1957. She raised three children, was active in the Episcopal Church, and volunteered at the Heard Museum.
Donnie enjoyed a varied and challenging career in the Scottsdale School District. She taught reading, coached swimming, and served as Department Chairman of Special Education at Scottsdale High School, Coordinator of the Gifted Program in the Scottsdale School District, and retired as the Principal of Kiva Elementary School in 1994.
Immediately after her retirement, Donnie and John moved to Wickenburg where they both continued their involvement in the Episcopal Church and became active in the Desert Caballeros Western Museum. She was in charge of the Wickenburg Home Tour for several years. Also an active member of the Wickenburg Art Club, Donnie chaired the Gold Rush exhibit, produced and exhibited at all club events, and participated in adult and youth art classes. She had a deep appreciation of Native American culture, became an accomplished clay artist, and loved sharing her craft with others. She also tutored reading and writing through the Wickenburg School District.
Donnie’s commitment to fitness was an inspiration to all who knew her. She preferred to spend her time outside hiking, running, sailing, and gardening, but was a regular at the gym or pool. While in her 70’s, Donnie hiked the Grand Canyon and completed her first half marathon, finishing first in her age group. She was a gracious hostess who enjoyed cooking and setting a beautiful table. Her Santa Fe style home in Wickenburg and mountain cabin in Pinewood were filled with the things she loved most: family, friends, and art.
Donnie passed away Jan. 24, 2018. She is survived by her two children, Taylor (Tamera) Ross and Pamela (Monty) Plew of Kingman, AZ; three grandchildren, Sommer (Tom) Palmer of Camp Verde, AZ, Bryson (Suzy) Ross of Carbondale, CO, and Jessica Plew of Kingman, AZ; and one great-granddaughter, Emma Palmer of Camp Verde, AZ. She was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, John Ross, daughter Wendy Ross, and granddaughter Pamela Plew.
A memorial service will be held at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Wickenburg on Saturday, March 3 at 10:30 a.m. with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St Alban’s to help children in need or to the Wickenburg Art Club’s children’s programs.