November/December 2013
In Memoriam: Circuit Judge Donald
R. Ross

The Honorable Donald R. Ross, Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, passed away on December 18, 2013, following a long illness. He was 91.

Donald Roe Ross was born near Orleans, Nebraska. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska in 1941. In October 1942 he entered the U.S. Army Air Corps and flew 46 missions as the lead bombardier with the 306th Bomb Group. He was promoted to Major and was twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He completed his law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1948.

He began his legal career in Lexington, Nebraska, with the firm of Cook & Ross, and was elected mayor of Lexington in 1953. He was appointed as U.S. Attorney for Nebraska and served in that position
from 1953 to 1956. He practiced law with the firm of Swarr, May, Royce, Smith, Andersen and Ross from 1956 to 1971. During this time he also served as vice president and general counsel for ConAgra from 1969 to 1971.

Active in state and local politics, he served as general counsel for the Republican Party of Nebraska from 1956 to 1958, then as a committeeman for Nebraska from 1958 to 1970, as well as vice chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1965 to 1970.

In 1971, he was appointed to serve as U.S. Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit. He filled the vacancy left by Harry Blackmun, who had been named to the Supreme Court. Judge Ross served as an active judge until 1987 when he took senior status. He received the Herbert Harley Award from the American Judicature Society in 1987 which is given to those who make “outstanding efforts and contributions that substantially improve the administration of justice in their state.”

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Janice, five children, 14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.