Col. Jerry W. Ross
Colonel (Ret.) Jerry W. Ross of Murfreesboro passed away on Sunday Feb. 17, 2008. He was born in Clarksville, TN growing up in Dickson, Donelson and Murfreesboro, TN. He was a thirty year veteran of the United States Air Force and was currently working with GlaxoSmithKline Corporation.
He is preceded in death by his father, Robert Martin Ross and infant brother Donny Martin Ross. He is survived by mother, Nancy Cooksey Ross, wife of 44 years, Sally Sallee Ross, children Jason Patrick (Sarah) Ross and Shannon Sallee (Nathan) Summar. He is also survived by four grandsons, Ethan Grey Summar, John Andrew Summar, Noah Harrison Ross, Carson Robert Ross and Elizabeth Ross, due April 2. He is also survived by brother in law John Pat (Judy) Sallee and two nieces Susan (Russell) Barrett and Kristi (Tracy) Gaines all of Murfreesboro, TN.
Jerry graduated high school from Murfreesboro Central High School in 1961, where he met his future bride. He attended Middle Tennessee State University from 1961 to 1964, and the University of Tennessee (UT) Medical Units from 1964 to 1967. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from UT in June 1967.
Colonel Ross enlisted in the Air Force in 1968 and was assigned to Wilford Hall Medical Center, San Antonio TX. He was given a direct commission in the Biomedical Sciences Corps (BSC) in June 1969 after his discharge as an airman first class. When he “put on” Captain in February, he had worn six active duty ranks in 16 months.
In 1969, Colonel Ross was assigned to the USAF Regional Hospital, Shaw AFB, SC as Chief, Pharmacy Services. While stationed at Shaw he implemented one of the early unit dose programs in the Air Force, and was well known for his drug abuse prevention activities in both civilian and military communities. In 1971 he was assigned to Lackland AFB, TX as Director and Corp Chief, USAF Drug and Alcohol Education and Counseling Course. He was honored for his work in this area with “Outstanding Achievement Award” from the National Rehabilitation Institute. He was named Associate Faculty member, Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic in San Francisco, and Consultant to the South Texas Public Schools in drug and alcohol education and counseling. He completed Squadron Officer School in residence during the summer of 1973. From 1976 to 1979 Colonel Ross was assigned to Scott AFB, as Chairman of the Department of Pharmacy. During this time he also completed a master’s degree with dual majors (Management and Human Relations) from Webster College in St. Louis, MO.
Colonel Ross was selected the first Air Force Pharmacist to attend the Armed Forces Staff College in residence at Norfolk, VA in 1980. In 1981 he was assigned to Headquarters, Air Force Inspection and Safety Center as Medical Inspector for the Biomedical Sciences Corps. He remained an active consultant and participant in the Air Force IG inspection process throughout the remainder of his career. In 1984 Colonel Ross was assigned to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs CO. This is where a love of skiing and hiking the Rockies was fostered. In Colorado, Colonel Ross was the Chief Pharmacy of Services, during this time he was also the Command BSC Consultant for the Air Force, and was selected as the Consultant to the Air Force Surgeon General in Pharmacy Management.
In 1987, he was assigned to Keesler AFB in Biloxi MS as Chariman, Department of Pharmacy. At this time he was selected as a member of the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy Dean’s Advisory Council. In 1990 Colonel Ross was the recipient of the Maxine Beatty Award as the Senior Air Force Pharmacist of the Year. Colonel Ross has also been the wrap up speaker for the Biomedical Officer Management Orientation Course for the past 19 years. Both on an active duty and civilian level.
In 1992 Colonel Ross was selected to be the Medical Group Commander at Goodfellow AFB. He was the first pharmacist ever selected to command a medical treatment facility in the Air Force. During his command this facility was accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
In 1995, Colonel Ross was assigned to Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters United States Air Force as the Director, Medical Force Management and Chief, Biomedical Sciences Corps. Again, Colonel Ross was the first pharmacist to ever be selected for these positions. Colonel Ross retired in 1998, but remained active in the Air Force pharmacy community throughout his retirement.
Once retired, he worked for five years with Schering-Plough Corporation as a National Accounts Executive in Federal Markets. Most recently he was working for GlaxoSmithKline Corporation as a Regional Account Director, Federal Markets.
Among military decorations Colonel Ross earned the Legion of Merit, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Achievement medal. In 1997, the Society of Air Force Pharmacists renamed their Annual Awards program the “Jerry W. Ross Annual Pharmacy Awards Banquet” – “in recognition of sustained and significant contributions to Air Force Pharmacy.” Colonel Ross also served as a Board Member for The Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS.) At GlaxoSmithKline Jerry was awarded with the Service of Excellence, “Diamond” Award for Outstanding performance.
Colonel Ross leaves behind a legacy of leadership, loyalty and service. Visitation with the family will be held at Jennings and Ayres Funeral Home from 3-8 P.M. on Friday, February 22, 2008. A church service will be held on Saturday, February 23, 2008 at 11:00 A.M. at First United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro with the Reverend Michael O’Bannon and the Reverend Tommy Perkins officiating. Burial will follow the service at Roselawn Memorial Gardens. You may also pay your respects to the family at www.myairforcepharmacist.com. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church or the University Of Tennessee College Of Pharmacy. Jennings & Ayers Funeral Home, 820 South Church Street, Murfreesboro, TN 37130. 615-893-2422. www.jenningsandayers.com