Betty G. Ross, a notable figure in both athletics and politics in the city of Lincolnton, passed away at Carolina Care Center in Cherryville on Saturday.
Ross served as Lincolnton’s first city recreation director, a position she held from 1947 until her retirement in 1990. Betty G. Ross Park in Lincolnton was named in her honor for her 43 years of service to the community.
Ross, born in Goodsonville in 1925, was a graduate of both Lincolnton High School and Appalachian State Teachers College. She was a student body president in college and was active in the school’s intramural sports programs for women.
Ross was a member of many different community organizations in Lincolnton, including the Rail-Trail committee, Eastern Star and the Cancer Board. She also served as the president of Lincoln County’s Democratic Women.
Ross’s funeral will be at 2 p.m. today at Boger City United Methodist Church, where she was an active member.
City Council member Les Cloninger said he met Ross 45 years ago after leaving the military and moving to Lincolnton. He described her as being instrumental to the development of publically sponsored recreation in Lincoln County.
“I was highly impressed with her desire to help people help themselves through recreation,” he remembered.
“That was a completely new concept, the idea of playing versus working all the time. She made sure we had a park available. Every time a child learns to swim, to play tennis or basketball, we owe a great big ‘thank you’ to Betty Ross.”
Lincolnton Mayor John Gilleland said he remembered Ross from his time spent at the recreation department as a child.
“I remember her from when I was a kid,” he said.
“She was an energetic and kind person and was always good to everybody. That was a good time in my life. You have to have those types of people to take organizations and departments and causes to the level that they need to be.”
More information on Ross’ passing and services can be found in her full obituary on page 2.