Steven Dale Ross was a Las Vegas City Councilman, mayoral candidate, man of faith, master electrician, and auto racing fan.
He was also a husband, father and grandfather to 15 grandchildren.
“If you came out today to see a tall, bald, bearded man crying like a little girl, you’re in luck,” said one of his sons, Matt Ross, who spoke at his late father’s funeral on Tuesday aged 59 died on 8 Sept.
With hilarious anecdotes that punctuate emotional memories, three of Ross’ five adult children each fought back tears as they shared their thoughts on their father.
“59 years is too short, that’s true,” said another of Ross’s sons, John Labate, 37, adding that it’s also undeniable that his father made good use of that time, putting a lot of life and work into his years .
Ross died at home after his health problems mounted in his final days, Labate said in an interview.
After contracting silicosis, a lung disease, as a result of working as an electrician at the Nevada test site, Ross underwent a liver transplant in April 2022, Labate said.
After complications from the transplant, Ross’ kidneys also began to fail and his health rapidly deteriorated before eventually succumbing, Labate said.
“Kindness, Grace and Loyalty”
Hundreds of people, including Mayor Carolyn Goodman, came to the Palm Northwest morgue to pay their respects and commemorate the three-year councilor.
“Steve Ross was a beautiful man of great kindness, grace and loyalty who gave so much to our community, his religion and his beloved family,” Goodman said after the funeral.
Labate also spoke about Ross’ commitment to the community.
“He was obviously a person who really cared about the people in his community,” Labate said. “He grew up here and wanted to do better.”
There were also large flower arrangements and a long table adorned with family pictures and auto racing memorabilia. At the front of the chapel stood Ross’s closed coffin, a plain wooden box. Ross wanted that simplicity, Labate said.
Ross was also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During the service, his grandchildren sang the Mormon hymns “I Am a Child of God,” while his grandchildren also performed “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.”
Ross represented District 6 of Las Vegas beginning in 2005. He ran for mayor in 2011 when Goodman was first elected, lost a major challenge to Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick in 2016, and was released from his District 6 council seat in 2017 6 is now represented by Michele Fiore, who defeated Ross’ wife Kelli for the seat in 2017.
During his tenure, voters tried twice to have Ross removed from office. The first attempt in 2011 failed to collect enough signatures. The second attempt resulted in a special election in January 2012, which Ross won comfortably, defeating a single opponent with 70 percent of the vote.
“He would do anything for anyone”
Ross was also mayor pro tem, meaning he would step in if the mayor was absent or unavailable, or become mayor if the office became vacant.
Adopted daughter Jessica Larsen shared an anecdote from her father’s final days, in which he mentioned he had something “super important” to tell her, but when she asked him what it was, he fell asleep and took a nap. The story sparked laughter from the hardworking Ross, and Larsen joked that he would probably tell her she was his favorite child.
“I’m so thankful for a father who loved me and gave me all the tools I needed to succeed in life,” Larsen said.
Kelli Ross later said all of his children are his favorites.
“Steve was my best friend,” she told the mourners. “He was my reason to get up in the morning and smile. He would do anything for anyone. If he could ask anything of you, he would say, ‘Go out and do something good.’”