Ross Mary Byrd Cleaveland was born in Little Rock, Arkansas to Frank Monroe and Ora Lee Byrd on April 3, 1921. She passed from this life to her eternal home on November 10, 2021 at the age of 100. She was preceded by her parents; her brother, Jimmy Cook Byrd and her husband of fifty seven years, Earl Thomas Cleaveland. She is survived by sons, David (Wilma), Jimmy (Leanne); daughter, Jane Howard (Jim); grandsons, Darren and Ryan Cleaveland; granddaughters, Michele Henry, Rebecca DeRosier, Stacey Enderlin, Lindy Forester and ten great-grandchildren.
Ross grew up in El Paso, Texas, from the age of six and grew up in First Baptist Church. After high school, she moved with her family to Fernandina Beach, Florida and married her husband there in 1941. Mr. Cleaveland entered the ministry in 1944 and Ross served alongside him in thirteen congregations in Texas and New Mexico until his retirement. Together they served at First Baptist El Paso for 13 years.
While raising their three children, Ross went to the University of Texas El Paso where she studied elementary education and then taught kindergarten. In church work, Ross taught Bible classes, sang in the choir, played piano and organ, was active in Woman's Auxiliary and Vacation Bible Schools and assisted her husband in every way as a minister's wife.
Ross enjoyed painting, writing, and many other hobbies. She and family loved traveling, camping and fishing in the Southwest. A favorite pastime was exploring ancient Indian ruins.
In 1999 her husband passed away and in 2001 Ross moved to Birmingham, Alabama from the retirement home she and her husband built in Ruidoso, New Mexico, to be close to her daughter and family. There she enjoyed making new friends and a new life until in 2014 she moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 2020 she moved with her daughter and husband to Tallahassee, Florida, her final home.
Ross's legacy and testimony is that her family was her career and was life's greatest treasure.
A memorial service will be held in the Chapel at First Baptist Church, El Paso, on November 20th at 3 p.m. Interment will be in the family plot in Evergreen Cemetery.
Memorial gifts can be made to Young at Heart Ministries, P.O. Box 92692, Albuquerque, NM 87199-2692.
For online obituary, visit www.noblin.com