Tom Ross, 64, of Granite Falls, died Friday, May 10, 2013 in Abbott Northwest-ern Hospital.
Funeral Services will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, May 17, at the Granite Falls Lutheran Church.
Visitation will be from 4-6 p.m. at the Wing-Bain Funeral Home in Granite Falls and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday.
Tommie Vincent Ross was born November 25, 1948, the first son born to Rufus Vanderbilt and Verna (Cavender) Ross in Granite Falls. He attended school in Granite Falls and Bemidji. Tom joined the United States Marine Corps in 1968 as a Field Radio Operator with the 5th MEB, 1st Battalion, 12th Marines in Viet Nam. He was honorably discharged in 1970. Following service Tom attended the University of Minnesota and became a highly regarded poet at various venues in the Twin Cities.
There have been numerous careers over the years primarily in service to his Dakota community, the Pejihutazizi Oyate. He was an Upper Sioux Board member for 14 years, the lifetime firekeeper for Ikce Wicas'a ta Omniceye of the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota Peoples, and a cultural resource specialist for various state agencies. Most recently he was a primary force behind the award winning project "Why Treaties Matter", a joint project with the Minnesota Humanities Commission, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, and the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. Further, he worked at the Jeffers Petroglyph Site, interpreting, discussing, identifying and being genuinely thrilled at the new discoveries unfolding there.
He also served on various Boards and Commissions, including the executive Board of Turnabout and serving as a delegate to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous People's Rights. He represented the people in Geneva, India, Greenland, Peru, Mexico, and Panama. His advice was sought from legislators, healers, boat captains, and the guy next door.
He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Maureen Aakre Ross; his sons Gabriel Thomas and Bradley Alexander Ross; his daughter Kristin Ann; the beat of his heart, grandson Phoenix Thunder Ross of Granite Falls; step-son Dana Ross of Denver, Colorado; and the mother of his children, Marti Wagner Ross of Brownton. In addition, he will be greatly missed by Auntie Carrie Schommer, god-children Nick and Nicole Schommer of Wood Lake, special daughter Karen Shodean of Albuquerque and special son Brandon Refsland of Willmar.
His surviving siblings include Diana Cavender of Apple Valley, Marlys Ross Fluto, Candace (Chuck) Hamilton, Richard, Dallas (Nancy), Elroy (Jill), James (Nikki) of Granite Falls Joey (Kristie) Ross of Apple Valley.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and brothers Rev. Gary Cavender and Johnny Ray Ross. Mitakuye Owasin.
Arrangements are with the Wing-Bain Funeral Home of Granite Falls.