Jacqueline Renfro Ross was born May 14, 1925, to John and Irene Renfro in Huntington Beach, California. She was third in a family of five: Jane, Marty, Jackie, Curt and David. During the Depression they struggled as most families did with little income, and she learned frugality and generosity through her early years, sharing what little they had with the destitute that came to their door looking for food and shelter.
She met the love of her life, Robert (Bob) Ross, when she was 13 years old. He was her older brother Marty’s best friend. It took him a few years to see her as something other than Marty’s kid sister, though he always claimed he knew from the beginning that one day he would marry her! He proposed to her on the Huntington Beach Pier in 1942, and they married Dec. 16, 1944, after he graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy as an ensign. Their first child, Marni, was born a year later on Bob’s birthday, Dec. 23, 1945. Johnny was born in 1948, Kimberly in 1949, Robert James II (Bobby) in 1950, and Dana in 1951.
They built a home on her parents’ property next door to her sister Jane, her husband Maynard and their four children. The cousins loved to live so close to each other, and they were more like siblings than cousins. The path to gram and gramps house was well worn from all the feet running back and forth to visit, and many hours of the day were spent building forts and playing in the alfalfa fields that surrounded the houses. This family value of close generational living will be repeated throughout their years.
Changing jobs kept them moving frequently while Bob worked in construction and Jackie stayed home with the kids until 1961, when she went back to school to become a licensed vocational nurse and then to full-time work at a medical group.
Jackie attended a Bible study in March 1973 and began her journey of faith in Jesus. In May 1975, Jackie and Bob bought a 5-acre ranch in Phelan, California, with Kim, Val and Tina. They named it Agape Ranch, a place to share God’s love with people.
They moved from the ranch in 1983 to Anchorage, Alaska, to attend Bible school and be trained in biblical counseling. They returned to the ranch in Phelan in 1986 to help start a church in Hesperia, California, and then in 1989 made the decision to move to Friday Harbor, Washington, to help Bill and Marni build their retirement home.
Their final years living in Friday Harbor were the happiest for them: Bob enjoying drafting for Bobby’s construction business; traveling to their grandsons’ baseball and football games; more grandchildren; the birth of great-grandchildren and participating in their activities; delighting in some of the families moving to the island and others returning for gatherings frequently; teaching and counseling in the Christian community; three vacations to Hawaii with their children; fishing and boating in the San Juans; and in the last years, the blessing of family giving care as well as the community caregivers at Life Care Center and at the Village.
They arrived in Friday Harbor on January 29, 1990, and Bob died 23 years later on January 29, 2012. Jackie died seven years later on Feb. 8, 2019.
Although we miss them both, we know that after 67 years together, she was waiting to join him again and is now right where she longed to be.
Our Mom lived a joyful life, each day filled with faith and trust in Jesus and unconditional love for her family. Her legacy of love and faith passes on to the three generations who are left behind.
Marni and Bill Gendron:
Kimberly, MacKenzie and Kyle Mapstead.
Son Kirk (Carrie);
Jared (Abigail), Josh, Dylan, Sydnee Gendron
Kim and Val Levasheff:
Daughter Tina (Jeff);
Maddie, Georgia, Ava Smith
Son Josh (Stephanie); Jason, Finn Levasheff
Bobby and Julie Ross:
Son Justin (Tisha); Kylan, Amelia, Ella, Addie Ross
Daughter Shanna Ross
Son Robbie (Sommer); Isabella, Hunter Ross
Son Jordan Ross
Son Jacob (Jenna) Ross
Dana and Gail Ross:
Son Jeremy (Darla); Amanda, Jamie Ross
Son Jeff; Emma Ross