« John Minck's Recollections of Ross | Main

January 08, 2008

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D Dsvid Davies

Ross was a dear friend for 46 years...I think the measure of his humanity, was in a recollection to me about his flying in WWII. Ross took part in the huge bombing attack on Tokyo, in which thousands of fire bombs were dropped on the city. He was in tears, he said; he knew this was all part of a terrible war, and must be done, but he could only gasp in horror at the thought of that huge city burning below nhim, and all those women and children burning to death.

Tom Rigoli

Thanks, John, for this thoughtful tribute. I did not realize that Ross passed away until I came across your memorial to him today, some three years after our mutual friend passed away.

It was a little over three years ago that I surfed the web to get Ross' phone number, and I called him on a whim (I had not been in touch with him for 20 years or more). The point of my call was to share with him a wine report attesting to the special qualities of California Zinfandel...one of his favorites. I reminded him of a statement he made some 40 years ago: "If there is ever to be a great California wine, it will be the Zinfandel"

Ross remembered well the wine statement but was quick to say that he was no longer drinking the wine he used to love due to health reasons...and that wine was now a "poison" for him. In our brief conversation, he said that he was enjoying life at home with a virtually unlimited access to music and movies. It seemed like I talked to him only about a year ago...but time has a way of slipping by more quickly as we all grow older. I suggested we get together over lunch sometime soon, however, I sensed that he was not too eager to do so given health issues.

My memories of Ross are most vivid during the late 1960s just after I joined EDN magazine as west coast editor. HP was the first company I visited..and Ross was the first person I talked to there. Ross recognized that I was a newbie to the publishing field feeling my way around Silicon Valley (long before it became known as that). And in his most gentlemanly way, he offered helpful guidance. I recall him underscoring the separation of editorial from advertising likening it to the separation of church and state. I always looked forward to visiting HP because Ross always made sure my editorial visits were productive.

I am not surprised that the San Jose Mercury News failed to publish Ross' obituary. Editorial staffs are so thin today, that you now have to push news of passing industry veterans -- which is exactly what I did when Gene Bylinsky, former editor for Fortune Magazine passed away. I urged the SJMN to publish an obit for Gene because he was known by many high-tech execs in Silicon Valley...and more widely known for his coverage of high-technology developments.

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