MONTAGUE- Dr. Allen Ross died the morning of October 13 at the age of 77 in the company of his children at Quabbin Valley Healthcare, Athol.
Born February 15, 1943 to Harold and Mary Ross in Norwich CT. In his childhood, Allen was a little league player, and sailor in Long Island Sound. He attended Andover Academy, and Oberlin College, where he starred in the play The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neil. Allen attended Georgetown Medical School and started as an Infectious Disease specialist in New York City and served as Chief Resident for the emergency room at the Lincoln Memorial Hospital in the Bronx.
His love of small-town country living brought him and his family to Montague Massachusetts and to the Farren Memorial Hospital. Allen worked with local inventor and builder Jim Slavis to build a one of a kind post and beam house on Taylor Hill with spectacular views of the surrounding hills, where Allen ran many early mornings throughout his life.
Teaming up with several other doctors, he helped found Connecticut River Internists in Turners Falls MA, where Allen practiced medicine with a thoughtful human connection focus. He was known for running behind schedule, taking time for silly jokes, extra -long conversations with patients’ family members, and an attention to detail. He was proud to be “Doc” to hundreds of families in the area.
Allen was similarly connected in his time outside work. He helped renovate and restore the Montague Book Mill, now a community anchor and landmark. In addition to being committed to seeing the old mill come back to life, he had the stone terraces and deck built, and partnered with the Blue Heron Restaurant. Allen also helped compile a video history of the building, documenting its start as an old grist mill and then a machine shop making the stamps for baseball bats, including the Louisville Slugger.
His devotion to conservation also included service on the Board of Directors of Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, where he served as Treasurer. He was steadfast in his work to protect the land along the Connecticut River including Red Fire Farm and his own property on Meadow Road.
Allen cared about history and the environment, but he also cared deeply for his town, serving as Selectman for the town of Montague. He helped support plans to revitalize Turners Falls as an affordable and beautiful place to live and also a center for the arts. Many mornings he could be seen walking with his dog down to the Montague Mini-mart to buy the newspaper, building stone towers “cairns,” and picking up any roadside trash along the way.
As a lifelong athlete, running the New York Marathon over ten times, and dozens of 10K races, Allen helped start two local road races, the Montague Mug Race and the New Year’s Day Sawmill River Run. He felt that exercise was a wonderful way to bring community together. Allen was also a frequent participant in the Josh Billings Triathlon in Lenox MA, the Greenfield Triathlon, and local canoe races including multiple top forty finishes in the Rat Race. Allen finished four General Clinton seventy-mile races. His many canoe and running partners described his unflagging enthusiasm and competitive spirit.
Allen was a devoted father and grandfather, taking his family on canoe camping trips, downhill ski trips, and hikes in all kinds of weather. It was not unusual to hear him say, “There is no such thing as poor weather, just poor preparation.” Allen leaves behind his wife, travel partner, scrabble opponent, and favorite baker, Norma Johnson. He also leaves behind his two children Daniel Ross and Emma Ellsworth; five grandchildren, as well as numerous paddle and running buddies.
The family will donate Allen’s property on the Connecticut River to Mount Grace Land Trust to be made publicly accessible in his honor. Allen would take great pleasure in knowing that generations of people will share his delight in this peaceful spot to launch their boats, and watch the bald eagles soar over the river.
A memorial to Allen Ross and a dedication of the “Allen Ross Memorial Canoe Put-in” will be held in the Spring.
Witty’s Funeral Home, 158 South Main Street, Orange, is assisting the family.
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