Ross Victor Waggoner Jr. passed away at his home on April 8, 2023. Born Oct. 30, 1932, Ross grew up in Edmonds, Washington with his mother, Bessie, father, RV, and younger brother, Tom. He walked miles in heavy snow to get to school. Only later did we learn that he was pulling our legs and that he grew up across the street from school. It was during these formative years that Ross developed a lifelong love of the outdoors. He enjoyed gardening, birdwatching and hiking. He often told stories of his adventures at Camp Parsons on Hood Canal and hikes into the Olympic Mountains. He would later share these hobbies with his family.
Ross attended Whitman College in Walla Walla where he graduated with honors in 1955. He made lasting friendships with his “brothers” at Beta Theta Pi fraternity. At Whitman, Ross met his lifelong love and beauty queen, Paulette Edes. Ross and Paulette were married that summer and moved to Palo Alto, California where he continued his studies. Paulette was the breadwinner in those early years until Ross graduated with an MBA from Stanford University in 1957.
With his graduate degree in hand, Ross began work in finance at the Boeing Company and the young couple moved back to the Northwest. Ross did more than study, and soon after returning, the couple had their first child, Daniel. Two more sons, Bradley and Kevin, quickly followed.
Given how loud it gets in a house with three boys, it probably should come as no surprise that Ross spent much of the 1960s traveling all over the world financing airplanes at the dawn of the Jet Age. When he was home, the family often jumped into the VW bus and went camping in Olympic National Park.
Big changes for the family began in the early 1970s as Ross left Boeing and the family moved to Kingston, Washington. The family had bought a cabin on the shores of Gamble Bay a few years earlier, but now they made the big jump and moved into the cabin even as the major remodel was taking place. Ross worked for a few years in downtown Seattle before leaving the corporate world to go start Port Townsend Lumber with his brother Tom. Ross’ sons will tell you that the gap between those two gigs was the longest year of their youth and set records for beds made daily and homework completed nightly. Thankfully, Ross soon was commuting daily to the new store in Port Townsend. The family business was just that, and the entire family was busy working on the monthly billing at the dining room table.
Ross spent the next three decades running Port Townsend Lumber before phasing into semi-retirement and turning over daily operations to his son, Dan. The two continued to operate the business until closing it in 2002. Around this time, Ross and Paulette enjoyed the company of close friends (“The Four Seasons”) hosting dinner parties, attending Seahawk games, and traveling abroad. Ross especially cherished his annual road trips with Paulette and his many far-flung ABA birdwatching excursions with his sons.
It was in these years that Ross instilled upon us the importance of Happy Hour. On weekends and vacations, at exactly 5 o’clock, it was time to partake in a healthy libation. And, for a man of few words, we might finally get time to hear him tell a good story.
After over 50 years living in their home on Gamble Bay, Ross and Paulette moved to Brookdale in Poulsbo in 2018. The family will forever cherish the memories at the Gamble Bay house with all the children and grandchildren spending almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas in a full house enjoying a holiday meal while dodging hard dinner rolls and singing a chorus or two of Black Sabbath’s "Iron Man."
Ross is survived by his loving wife Paulette; his sons Dan (Mae), Bradley (Helen), and Kevin (Susan); and his grandchildren Jessica, Samantha (Thomas), Brett, Alisha (Laik), Griffen, and Holly; and great-grandson, Reilly.
As a committed introvert, Ross has chosen not to have a memorial service. In lieu of flowers, please enjoy a happy hour in his honor.