Ann Ross: Young dreamer grew up to be a pioneer of politics, public service

Ann Ross
Ann Ross

Ann Ross often dreamed in her early years in Pikeville about a world where women had more of a say.

Mrs. Ross, who died Saturday at 78, once told a reporter that she would lie on the grass, watch the sky "and just imagine what a world would be like with women making some of the decisions."

She not only saw that day, she helped make it happen, becoming the first woman elected to a countywide office in Fayette County when she gained a seat on the Urban County Council in 1977. She was re-elected in 1981 and chosen as vice mayor by her peers on the council. She later served in local government on the planning and the ethics commissions.

The list of her other professional and community positions is much too long to repeat here. In each of them, though, Mrs. Ross' service was marked by intelligence, honesty, forthrightness and dedication to the public good. "Ann Ross always cared," Mayor Jim Gray said in a statement after her death.

And she was a mentor for other young women who, like herself, dreamed about making a difference in their communities.

One of those women, Knox van Nagell, remembered that, when she took on the job of executive director of the Fayette Alliance several years ago, Mrs. Ross offered valuable advice on how to make a difference. Van Nagell said Mrs. Ross was "a positive role model for women who want to have a voice and make a contribution."

That's a fitting epitaph for a little girl who dreamed about making a difference in the world and grew up to be a woman who did.