Mourners pay respects at visitation for Amanda Ross

kward1@herald-leader.comSeptember 16, 2009 

Current and former state legislators, county judge-executives and mayors were among hundreds of mourners who paid their respects at a visitation in memory of Amanda Ross on Tuesday night.

Ross, 29, was gunned down Friday morning as she prepared to leave for work. Former state Rep. Steve Nunn, Ross's ex-fiancée, has been charged with her murder and with violating a protective order.

A line of friends that curled around the outside of the Carrick House remembered Ross for her warm personality, love of politics and fashion sense.

"She had a lot of close friends who she always included in everything," said Maryann Hammonds, who said she had been friends with Ross and her mother, Diana, for years. "She loved holidays. She was a fabulous cook and a great entertainer."

Ross's cousin, Heather McGinnis, said she and Ross's mother and sister were wearing some of Ross's clothing in honor of her strong sense of style.

"She loved fashion, and she loved shoes," said McGinnis, who wore a pair of Ross's gray snakeskin heels.

Adam Edelen, chief of staff for Gov. Steve Beshear, said Ross was like her father, the late Terrell Ross, in that she "had a really great nose for business" and was committed to bettering her community.

He said Ross had sent out a mass e-mail after her recent election to the board of the Lexington Humane Society, challenging her friends to support the cause.

"The people who light up every room they walk into are special indeed, and Amanda was one of those people," Edelen said.

Inside the Carrick House, photos of Ross — as a baby in a white lacy cap, a smiling girl in a soccer uniform, a legislative page posing with the late Rep. Pete Worthington — lined mantels and tabletops. Several paintings Ross had done, including a self-portrait with her sister Carrie when they were children, were on display.

"You can tell she liked politics," said family friend Dale Emmons, pointing out a framed photo of Ross posing with Rep. Bob Damron, who attended the visitation.

Other political faces included Sen. Ed Worley, Sen. Kathy Stein, Madison County Judge-Executive Kent Clark, former Lexington Mayor Foster Pettit and Finance and Administration Secretary Jonathan Miller, who said Ross had volunteered on his gubernatorial campaign.

Emmons said Ross "was a Democrat without question" but was also "color blind" when it came to forming friendships with members of other parties.

Lexington attorney Terry McBrayer, a close friend of Ross's family, said the situation is "just the saddest thing that I've come upon in a number of years. It's a little overwhelming."

Funeral services will be public and are scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Carrick House, with burial in the Lexington Cemetery.

Reach Karla Ward at (859) 231-3314 or 1-800 950-6397, Ext. 3314.

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