January 6, 1928 ~ November 23, 2019
On November 23, 2019, the irrepressible and irreplaceable William Ronald Ross aka "Fireman Frank"^died in his sleep from heart failure. At almost 92, Ron lived large. He traveled, played piano at McKay Dee Hospital, taught voice and speech.
He loved Senior Sneakers and The Golden Hours Seniors Ctr.
Ron was born in his grandmother's kitchen in Ogden on January 6, 1928 to Cynthia Rosa (Taylor) and Clarence "Shorty" Ross.
He played piano and marimba in the family band and attended Ogden High where he honed debate, singing and dance skills.
1946-47 Ron served in the U.S. Army as a music specialist. He attended BYU and graduated from Weber Jr. College. In the 50's and 60's he earned his BS, MFA, and Ph.D. in theatre arts, speech and ballet at the U of U. He served as asst. prof. in theatre arts at USU in the 70's. In Logan he taught readers^ theatre, voice, storytelling, acting, ballet and mime.
Ron acted, sang, danced and directed more than 100 community, college, and professional theatre and ballet productions. He was Willam F. Christiansen's assistant and danced with Ballet West and U Ballet Co. including in The Nutcracker. The Nutcracker doll was even fashioned to mimic Ron's distinct nose. Ron danced two seasons with the San Francisco Opera and Ballet Company.
In 1957 he auditioned for a new children's TV show on KSL. He had no TV experience, but neither did anyone else. He became Engineer Ron, whisking viewers to Cartoonville aboard Cecil the Diesel.
1963-71 Ron was the popular cartoon-show host 'Fireman Frank'^on KCPX. Fireman Frank interviewed scout troops and birthday kids in the studio audience. He doled out toys, read books, featured zoo animals and introduced cartoons. Fireman Frank rode in parades and wowed kids across the Intermountain West. Ron also introduced KCPX's Friday "Nightmare Theatre". Ron's original scripts always ended with "It's Niiiiightmaaaarreee"^then a haunting laugh.
Ron sang, played the piano, marimba, vibes and trombone. He was a scuba dive master and ballroom dance competitor. He adored camping and hiking. He spent the 80's in Las Vegas where ^'Doc Ross'^became a high school teacher, TV weatherman, film stunt actor, theatre director/actor and an Oldsmobile Ad Exec. He briefly lived in Hawaii, but Ogden was home.
Ron was married and divorced six times: Carol Price, Carol Lynn Toms, Joan Pignataro, JoAnn Kessing, Terri Moser, Sue Abney. Ron's everlasting love was for his children, their spouses, his grandchildren and an endless stream of Shetland Sheepdogs.
Preceded in death by his parents and sister Betty Jean Haskins. Survived by children: Robyn Ross Maitland, Heather Ross (Randy Rasmussen), William Ronald Ross II (Rio). Grandchildren: Adam, Ian, Aidan, Acier, and Lily. Niece: Becky Sue DeLawder.
Ever the teacher, Ron donated his body to the U of U School of Medicine. Ron's Life Celebration will be held Monday, January 27, 2020 at the Timbermine Restaurant in Ogden. 1710 Park Drive. Entrance by the dinosaur park.
Friends and fans are welcome from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Program at 6:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please donate to UtahOpenLands.org in Ron's name.