Maude Nealie Ford Ross

Maude Nealie Ford Ross was born in Greensboro, NC on March 12, 1924.  She grew up in Winnsboro, SC. Her 96 years resounded with great passion for her faith in God and her church, St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC), her family, the education of children and music.  With a song in her heart, she passed away peacefully, in her home in Winnsboro, SC, on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Mrs. Ross completed Fairfield County Training School in Winnsboro and continued her education with a B.A. Degree from Allen University, Columbia, SC., and M.A. Degree in Guidance and Personnel Administration from Columbia University, New York, NY. Her belief that all children can learn and succeed formed the cornerstone for her investment in education.  She played a pivotal role and was a driving force in the peaceful integration of Fairfield County High Schools.  After 35 years as a teacher and guidance counselor, she retired and continued to counsel many in the church and community.  Her faithful 90-year membership at Saint John AMEC reflects service as a steward, trustee, Sunday School teacher, choir member, and with leadership as a Conference Branch President, Secretary, and Life Member of the Women’s Missionary Society.

Whether with family, church, school or community, when Mrs. Ross saw a need, she worked on a solution. When her church needed musicians in 2009, she initiated a “Musical Blessings” project, which fosters participation of youth in music ministry.  Youth from the church applied and four were accepted to provide music for the Sunday school and church services. Mrs. Ross contributed a stipend each month for each child as an incentive for services rendered by each “Musical Blessing”. The students, in turn, gave to the church ten percent of their earnings and enjoyed the lessons of serving God, tithing and saving. One of them, Logan Wade, played for his high school’s choir performance at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY.

Among her civic, educational and community activities are Life Member of the National Council of Negro Women, NAACP, Allen University Alumni Association, Eastern Star Evergreen Chapter No.126, Friend of the Library and Council on Aging.  She has also received several statewide and local recognitions. 

She was the third of six children born to the Late Ernest and Estelle Henry Ford.  Mrs. Ross was preceded in death in 1997 by her middle school sweetheart and husband, the Late Julius Mansel Ross, Sr. Four wonderful children were born to their 53-year union: Julius Mansel Ross, Jr. (McDonough, GA); Saundra Ross Johnson (Wilmington, DE); Karen Ross Grant (Orangeburg, SC) and Rev. Barrington Bernard Ross (Shawn) of Durham, NC. She was blessed with eight grandchildren — Shani Ross Paul, Julius Mansa Ross; Matthew Ross Johnson; Lauren Ford Grant; Ross Montgomery Grant; Amena Estelle Ross; Caleb Wallace Ross and Aisha Manselle Blackstone Ross (deceased). Four amazing and spirited great-grandchildren blessed her life — Ava Grace Paul, Spencer Allen Paul, Eden Leigh Jones Ross and Mason Anthony Grove.

She leaves to cherish her memory her sister Martha Daisy Ford Gladden of Washington, DC, her sister-in-law, Cecile Ross Stevenson, many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and her loving caregivers, Perdita Jeryl Ford, and Gladys Means Hardy.

Due to COVID-19 precautions and social distancing, a graveside service will be held with the immediate family at the Ross Memorial Cemetery in Winnsboro, SC.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent in her name to: Saint John AMEC, ATTN: Rev. Yvonne Feaster, 2740 Old Camden Road, Winnsboro, SC 29180, and/or Allen University, Office of Institutional Advancement, 1530 Harden Street, Columbia, SC 29204.  Condolences to the family may be sent directly to Saundra Ross Johnson at PO Box 274, Winnsboro, SC 29180, or to Glover’s Memorial Chapel, 423 N. Congress St., Winnsboro, SC.