Our father Ross Edward (Smokey) Stober died today May 2, 2017 at Primrose Retirement Center where he has lived for the past five years. He will be sorely missed by all who have known him as he was enjoyed and loved by everyone he met. He taught us by example great love, respect, and hard work. Our greatest tribute to him will be by continuing to honor him each and every day with the wonderful life lessons he showed us.
He was born on November 1, 1921. When his mother began labor they traveled by horse and buggy from Ada, Ohio to the Lima Hospital. She died from complications of that birth which could have begun a series of negative chapters in his life. Instead, he inspired us all by working hard for all that he cherished and never making excuses for any barriers he found in his way.
He spent his early years living with numerous family members, several years in the Allen County Children’s Home, and his high school years working as a foster child on a farm in northern Ohio. He graduated from high school while living in Cleveland and as soon as he turned 18 he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps. He spent five years in WWII combat as part of the 308th Fighter Group working as a mechanic on the British Spitfires and P51 Mustangs. He traveled to England, Sicily, Italy, Africa, Malta and Morocco during the European Campaign. He continued to host and attend those 308Th reunions until almost every member had passed on. He flew a flag in our front yard every day until he moved into assisted living care. His great love of country was never far from his mind and nothing made him prouder than his service during WWII.
He retired after 38years from Standard Oil Refinery. His love of all things aeronautical after the war encouraged him to get his private pilots license and he enjoyed flying from the Lima Airport for many years. He was a member of the VFW, American Legion, Elks, and Lima Bassmaster’s Association. He was an active fisherman until his vision no longer allowed him to cast a pole, but he never lost his love for being on a boat and looking at the water. He enjoyed many trips with cherished family and friends across the US and Canada chasing that joy of fishing. He was a long time member of Epworth Methodist Church and in later years Shawnee Methodist Church. He was a gifted storyteller with a sharp mind until the day he left this earth. His joy of life, positive attitude, and love of family continues to inspire all of us as we grieve his passing.
In 1947 he married Eileen Frances Martin and they remained happily married until she passed away in 2009. They raised three children: Esther Ballard (Joe) of Laurel, MD, Sue Briem (Keith) of Stigler, OK and Bill (Lois) Stober of Lima in the house they purchased with his WWII discharge money. He will be greatly missed by eight grandchildren, Kevin (Trina) Ballard, Nick (Josephine) Ballard, Brad Ballard, Heather (Keith) Chauret, Keith Briem, Jr., Josiah (Shana) Stober, Abbey (Josh) Miller, and Hannah (Josh) Vaughan. In addition, he will be missed by 11 great grandchildren: Josh Ballard, Brittany Ballard, Makayla Ballard, Bryce Ballard, Ethan (Ross) Ballard, Alexandria Chauret, Keith (Trip) Chauret, Colin (Ross) Chauret, Noah Miller, Adalyn Miller, Eli (Ross) Miller, Savannah Briem, Kaeleigh Briem and lastly, soon to be born McKenzie (Eileen) Ballard. He also leaves behind three cherished half sisters: Jean (Dale) Osborn, Carol Wilson, and Dottie (Ray) Bailey.
We wish to thank his treasured family of employees and friends at Primrose Retirement Center where he thoroughly enjoyed spending the final chapters of his life. They put many smiles on his face during his five year stay there. We also wish to thank all the nurses and employees of the Veteran’s Association and St. Rita’s hospice who took such wonderful care of him in his final days. But most importantly, we wish to thank God above for the gift of such a wonderful man. We were blessed to be included in his journey.
Per his wishes there will be no public visitation. A family graveside service will be held at a later date.