Ken Ross, a beloved theater teacher and director, came into this world on December 31, 1941 and passed away on October 6, 2023. He was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri — a city he dearly loved and visited often. Ken was the son of Charles M. Ross and Juliet Ross and the stepson of Leslie Ficken.
Ross’s lifelong passion for the performing arts began with tap dance and piano lessons as a child. He graduated from Beaumont High School in St. Louis and earned his Bachelor of Arts at Elmhurst College. Ross was awarded a Master’s of Divinity with an emphasis in theater from Union Seminary. He worked at several churches in Philadelphia, St. Louis, and San Carlos, California, where he specialized in forming theater groups.
After deciding to commit full-time to theater and music, Ross earned a Master of Arts in Theater from San Francisco State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theater from U.S. International University in San Diego, now known as Alliant University.
Ross’s career in education included teaching theater and directing plays and musicals at several Bay Area community colleges, the Athenian School in Danville, Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, and eventually at Las Positas College. Ross remained at LPC and led the theater program for 20 years. Even after retirement, he continued to teach and direct at Las Positas as a part-time professor emeritus.
Ross’s theatrical productions were known for their quality, variety, and positive spirit. He also wrote music, a book, and lyrics for several successfully produced musicals. His work as a professional actor included shows at Woodminster Summer Musicals in Oakland. His favorite place was The Muny in St. Louis, a huge outdoor theater where he gained his love for musical theater and often performed during his time in St. Louis.
Ross is survived by a brother, two stepsisters, two nieces, an extended family, and many friends, colleagues, and former students. Donations can be sent to the Las Positas College Theater Arts Department, 3000 Campus Hill Drive, Livermore, CA 94551, for those who wish to express appreciation for his life.