Don Ross is One Hard Act to Follow
Don Ross spent much of his lifetime enjoying badminton and gallivanting around the world. He had the opportunity to combine his work and vacation plans to include playing badminton. He often sat in his favorite seats at the All-England Tourney and watched many other competitive events with his badminton friends.
Back in Scotland, Don grew up with motorcycles and cars and quickly moved up the ranks through Rolls Royce. No matter where he relocated over the years, garage space for his collection of vehicles was a primary concern. Don's last home garage held his "babies": E-Type Jaguar, Norton Commando motorcycle, Pontiac Trans Am, 420 Jaguar, and the Jaguar XJ8. He drove them all with great pleasure.
Don loved working on these vehicles, as well as assisting friends. One week Bharat and I had been spending the evenings at a mall parking lot tent sale for vehicles. We had almost narrowed it down to a black Honda Civic that would get good gas mileage and be a great commuter car from Martinsville to downtown Indy for Bharat for work. It was Friday evening when we started over to make the purchase and detoured to another area.
We both love sport cars, so we thought we would just sit in a few for fun before we bought the Honda. A salesman came up to us and pointed to a Jag in front of us and said he would give us a good price for that one. We looked at him and laughed believing he could not make an offer we would be willing to pay, but he did.
We test drove the Jag and could not believe the offer. The salesman said we could not hold it. The sale was over the next day and we had some serious thinking to do. We went home Friday night and called Don to tell him about it and get his expert opinion. Being the wonderful person he is Don agreed to drive over and meet us there in the morning to give us his advice.
When we arrived Don was already there seriously checking out the Jag. We saw this look of panic in the eyes of the salesman as he saw us approaching. He had no idea that Don was there with us and was so relieved when he understood our connection. We all test drove the Jag and Bharat and I made the purchase that day. We really enjoyed it, but it did not become Bharat�s commuter car.
Bharat and I met Don at a badminton camp in Lake Placid before we were married. We have known him over 17 years. We enjoyed seeing him at different tourneys over the years as all three of us traveled quite a bit to play our favorite sport. We would often meet at the Kentucky Open. This tourney always draws an interesting mix of players from the south. Don was in Atlanta at that time and traveled with a fun and talented group of players to other tourneys.
One year Don started asking us about Indian restaurants in Indy. He wanted to check them out. He was also thinking about areas to purchase a home. We were very excited that he was thinking about relocating to Indianapolis. He was talking about moving one last time with Rolls Royce and then retiring there. Don wanted to be where he could enjoy badminton, Indian food, good friends from work and play and not be really hot. He knew his money would last longer in Indy too compared to other places people usually think of for retirement.
As much as Don loved his work and the people from work, he knew what living a quality life was all about and was ready to enjoy himself even more the first day he became eligible for early retirement. He told everyone he had his retirement letter already in his computer files just waiting for the day he would hit "PRINT." He was very happy when that day came. Even though he told people at Rolls Royce this was his plan many could not believe it because Don always enjoyed his work and coworkers. He retired from work when he was 55 and passed away at the age of 56 due to complications with cancer.
Don had many hobbies that he enjoyed on a regular basis, besides drinking his Newcastle Brown Ale. He played tennis weekly, ran and did weight training to help him stay in shape. Don looked forward to running the annual Peach Tree in Atlanta with friends from badminton and work. He snow skied regularly and enjoyed being a spectator at car races. Most recently he added golfing to the list. He had decided that at this point in his life he was not interested in adding new experiences that would put him at a greater risk for injury.
When it came time for cooking and entertaining Don was an artist. He was very meticulous about every detail, but very easy going. He really knew how to make everyone feel special and appreciated. One time when Indy was hosting the Peace Games, an international sports exchange between a suburb of Toronto and Indy, he invited the entire badminton group to his place for a cookout. He even made hamburgers shaped like badminton shuttles. Of course, they tasted better than the regular round ones.
If you have not had one of Don's trifles you have really missed something. You talk about a work of art and details. His recipe looks like a work order with schematics. He lists; Ingredients, Operations 1-4, Sub-Task 01-03, Quality Acceptance Standard, along with Figure I. It seems a daunting task that should only be attempted by the bravest of souls. He loved eating out just as much, especially with good friends.
Here's a good spot to insert the link to Don's Trifle Recipe!
How to Engineer a Trifle
Just hit your 'Back' Button to return to this page.
So many people really knew Don Ross because he was always down to earth and lived his life with no pretense. It is rare to find a person as caring and giving as he was on and off the court. He treated everyone like an equal. He was a true gentleman with a very energetic smile and spirit, always giving his best effort and epitomizing sportsmanship. Don was instantly liked by everyone he met and the longer you knew him the better you liked him. As a club mate he will be sorely missed. Don was a man who quietly influenced everyone's manner because his manner was one to be admired.
Most Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Indianapolis Badminton Club Don was there when he was in town. Many nights Norma Trusler, Bharat and I and Don followed up with dinner and a brew after we played. Don would always let me have the foam off the top because I love almost every beer I have ever tasted, but I don't drink and drive. Don shared many hours talking and laughing with friends over his favorite brews.
Because it is so difficult to let go, it is easier for me just to pretend that he is on one of his many journeys gallivanting around the universe now.
The Atlanta Tourney:
The Atlanta group is planning a tournament in memory of Don Ross. His birthday was August 5th, so they have scheduled that weekend to be the big event. They hope to have this be an annual event. Please contact Sue Wieloch [firstname.lastname@example.org] for more information.
The Midwest Badminton Association will be discussing ways to honor Don Ross at their annual meeting.
Limericks for Don Ross by Dawn Patel
In Memory of Don Ross
We lost a dear friend from the Highland.
His mother still lives back in Scotland.
We all feel such pride
To have stood side by side
With this man who loved his homeland.
This man dearly loved his ale.
With Newcastle Brown you can't fail.
He carried his brew
And one for you too
Always eager to share a new tale.
Don was a true gentle man
Who was known as a badminton fan.
He carried his gear
Both far and near
In hopes of a game, was his plan.
Badminton was his favorite sport.
To all he gave his support.
Here and there,
He always played fair
And will be missed on and off the court.
Poem for Don Ross by Dawn Patel
To a Wonderful Friend
It has really been a pleasure
To know a gentle man like you.
When your friends get together
The tales they tell are true.
Your smile was full of kindness
That shone just like the sun.
Always warm and caring
And it touched everyone.
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