Donald Gunn Ross III


Donald Gunn Ross III died peacefully in his sleep on May 18, 2024. He was born November 26, 1944 in Port Chester, NY, to parents Donald Gunn Ross II and Andre Moul Ross. He’s survived by his sisters, Carol Shank of Stone Ridge, NY, Julie Ross of Willow Spring, NC, brother Richard Ross of Hurley, NY, and nieces Amanda Shank and Olivia Shank.

Don loved nature and the simple things in life, living happily with few material possessions. At the age of 11 he canoed and camped the Fulton Chain of Lakes in the Adirondacks, which began a lifelong habit of canoe trips in the Saranac Lake region further north. In the 60s he was active in Civil Rights, marching at Selma and elsewhere, and he enjoyed playing folk music on his 12-string guitar. Though he didn’t go to college directly after high school, he graduated college midlife, with an associate’s degree from UCCC and a bachelor’s in Journalism from SUNY, New Paltz.

Having spent his younger years in Port Chester and Katonah, NY, his family moved to High Falls, NY in 1964, where he was thrilled to explore the Shawangunk Mountains. The “Gunks” played a huge part in his life, offering beautiful scenery and numerous trails to ride on his mountain bike. He was often at Minnewaska or Mohonk, participating in bicycle races or riding with friends. In the late 80s he edited and published a small newspaper called “Ridgerider” that celebrated “riding the ridge” and informed bike enthusiasts of past and future events. Later in life, he developed a love of Plein Air Painting, and returned to the mountains to paint the landscapes he’d once biked, capturing them in dozens of oil and watercolor paintings.

Another love was that of the sea and clipper ships. Many years of travel and research led him to write The Era of the Clipper Ships: the Legend of Donald McKay, a definitive work on the subject. He’d been inspired by family questions about McKay, thought to be a relative, a fact Don confirmed.

For many years, Don was actively involved with the Vivekananda Retreat Ridgely in Stone Ridge, meditating, assisting with events, and growing an organic garden. Skilled with his hands, he had several craft businesses, and produced pipes made of walnut, ceramic fish, and eyeglass pins. He also farmed and harvested catnip, selling it under the label “Meowi Zowie” for the delight of many an Ulster County cat.

Don was often spotted in town with a cup of coffee and the NY Times which he read daily. He was outgoing, greeting friends and acquaintances with his customary “quack, quack,” eager to chat.

Don Ross was one of a kind and will be greatly missed. Comments and memories of Don, can be posted at Joseph V. Leahy Funeral Home, Inc., Kingston, NY.