James C. Ross, 88, died peacefully on March 16, 2017, at Agrace Hospice Care, Fitchburg.

Jim was born on Feb. 27, 1929, near Belleville, to the late Clayton and Teresa (O’Donnell) Ross, and grew up in Brodhead. He graduated from Brodhead High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, he met his future wife, the former Mildred (Jody) Rieder, while scooping ice cream at Memorial Union. They married on June 6, 1953, in Brodhead, and were devoted to each other for their 63 years together. They shared a love of travel and took their two children on much-anticipated summer road trips throughout the U.S. and Canada.

After retirement, Jim and Jody made many European trips and especially enjoyed sharing the beauty of Ireland with family and friends. Although Jim’s mobility declined in recent years, he still made great efforts to host family trips to Door County each spring and fall.

Jim served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1956, including three years as an F-86 Sabre Jet fighter pilot in the American Defense Command. The Sabre Jet was then the world’s fastest aircraft, and he loved the thrill and adventure of those years.

Upon leaving the Air Force, he began a long career in sales, retiring in 1990 as sales manager of the Mille Lacs division of the Wisconsin Cheeseman, Sun Prairie. He brought integrity and a spirit of service to his work.

Jim was a true “people person” with a great sense of humor. He could turn a stranger into a friend within minutes and made many enduring friendships through his work and travels and in the senior community that was his and Jody’s home for the past six years.

In retirement, he became an enthusiastic golfer and was proud of having shot a hole-in-one at the age of 80. He also relished a good card game. He was a member of St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Sun Prairie.

Jim was devoted to his family. He is survived by his wife Jody; daughter Peg (Steve Barnhart), Madison; son Michael (Allan Beatty), La Crosse; beloved grandchildren James, David, and Anna; and sisters Cathleen Philbin, Arlington Heights, Ill., and Sr. Miriam Cecile Ross, SSND, Milwaukee. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Dona Ross Pratt, Edgerton, and Gloria Rieder, Monroe; 12 nieces and nephews; and dear friends who brought joy to his life. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother Dr. Francis Ross; his parents-in-law John and Dorothy Rieder; brother- and sister-in-law Fritz and Hulda Rieder; niece Jane Rieder; and brother-in-law Bob Rieder.

The family would like to extend appreciation to St. Mary’s Cardiac Care Unit and Palliative Care Team and to Agrace Hospice Care for their kind and gentle care.

The visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, March 24, at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church, Sun Prairie.  A Funeral Mass will follow at 11, officiated by Msgr. Donn Heiar.

In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated to Agrace Hospice Care, 5395 E. Cheryl Pkwy., Madison WI 53711, or to the charity of your choice.