Dr. S. William Ross
  • In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Foundation College of Medicine Founders Society expressly in memory and for as the family may designate.

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“I am very sorry to have missed Bill's memorial service. I extend my sympathy to Charlotte and all of Bill's family.His passing is once again a...Read More »
1 of 18 | Posted by: Howard J. Barnhard, MD - Roland, AR

“I just learned about Bill's death. Fifty years ago, at 17, I had aplastic anemia. At that time it was a death sentence. He saved my life. He didn't...Read More »
2 of 18 | Posted by: DIANNE GARNER - Bradenton, FL

“Leslie, I am so sorry to hear about your father's passing and hope it was peaceful and that you soon find peace in it. I can still see your house...Read More »
3 of 18 | Posted by: Kristine Larson Schneider - CO

“Thinking of all of you and your mother. ”
4 of 18 | Posted by: George Wittenberg - Little Rock, AR

“Hello everybody, I am not going to manage to get back into the country by tomorrow morning. I am so very sorry to get the bad news and also sorry...Read More »
5 of 18 | Posted by: Jerry Bona - Chicago, IL

“Members of the Arkansas Central Cancer Registry at the Arkansas Department of Health express our deepest sympathy to the family of Dr. Ross. He was...Read More »
6 of 18 | Posted by: Theressia Mitchell - Little Rock, AR

“Charlotte, I extend my sympathies to you, your children and extended family on Bill's death. I had only recently heard of his illness. I so...Read More »
7 of 18 | Posted by: Lawson E. Glover - Little Rock, AR

“Dr. Ross is one of the giants in the development of medicine at the Univ. of Ark. College of Medicine and the state of Ark. ”
8 of 18 | Posted by: Dennis Lucy,MD - Little Rock, AR

“We are your neighbors who live behind you, down the hill. We have met Linda when she was planting the garden. We want to express our sincere...Read More »
9 of 18 | Posted by: John and Tina Coffin - AR

“Meredith, we were sorry to hear about your father. I know you have wonderful memories of him. Take care, and I'll see you soon. Janice & Don...Read More »
10 of 18 | Posted by: Don and Janice Botner - AR

“Pam, Rachael and Jennifer I am so sorry for your loss. love Susan Bona ”
11 of 18 | Posted by: Susan Bona - Little Rock, AR

“Dear Charlotte and family--I was so sorry to read of your loss. Your family meant so much to my mother, Erma Gray; she loved visiting your mother...Read More »
12 of 18 | Posted by: Carolyn Gray LeMaster - AR

“My deepest sympathy to Charlotte, Meredith whom I met twice, and to all. I will miss Bill. I will miss his gentleness, knowledge, and seeing him in...Read More »
13 of 18 | Posted by: Joshua Epstein - Little Rock, AR

“My deepest sympathy to Charlotte, Meredith whom I met twice, and to all. I will miss Bill. I will miss his gentleness, knowledge, and seeing him in...Read More »
14 of 18 | Posted by: Joshua Epstein - Little Rock, AR

“Leslie and Pam...so sorry to hear of your father's passing. Thinking of you and sending loving thoughts. ”
15 of 18 | Posted by: Beverly Montgomery Dunaway - AR

“Leslie, Sending loving thoughts to you and your family during this difficult time. My condolences. Gene ”
16 of 18 | Posted by: Gene Dunaway - Mountain View, AR

“Charlotte and Family, We were so sorry to hear about Bill. He was a wonderful and caring person, plus a pretty good Bridge player! Betsy and...Read More »
17 of 18 | Posted by: Betsy Berry - little rock, AR

“Dear Charlotte and Family, We are thinking of you at this time and send our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Bill was a wonderful person...Read More »
18 of 18 | Posted by: Ann Storthz - Little Rock, AR


Dr. S. William Ross, Arkansas's First Hematologist,

Co-founder of Little Rock Diagnostic Clinic,

and a Founding Father of Southwest Oncology Group Dies at 90

Dr. S. William Ross, the first hematologist in the state of Arkansas and also a rheumatologist, oncologist and clinical pathologist whose devotion to scholarship and excellence in patient care influenced colleagues and generations of medical students, died December 3 in Little Rock. He was 90.

In 1961, Dr. Ross, with three of his former medical students — Doctors George Mitchell, Sexton Lewis and James Abraham — co-founded the Little Rock Diagnostic Clinic. The first single-specialist clinic in the state, it has since grown into a major institution of internal medicine.

According to Dr. Joseph Bates, Deputy State Health Officer and Chief Science Officer at the Arkansas Department of Health, "Bill Ross was the most careful, thorough, deliberate, caring physician you could ever meet. What he loved was working on the difficult issue of a perplexing patient where the ordinary doctor couldn't see the answer, then coming up with different diagnostics, and proposing a correct diagnosis."

Dr. Ross co-founded the Arkansas Chapter of the National Arthritis Foundation, and in 1958, with Dr. Louis Sanders, initiated setting up the first state-wide home physical therapy program for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. He was also a founder and past president of the Arkansas Blood and Cancer Society, a founding member of the Southwest Oncology Group and chairman of the medical and scientific committee of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Born in New York City, March 19, 1922, Dr. Ross, an avid Yankees fan, graduated from Syracuse University College of Medicine in 1946. After his internship and two years in the Navy, he brought his family to Little Rock in 1949, where he did his residency. He soon became a full-time faculty member at what is now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

In July of 1959, Dr. Ross, with three other physicians — Doctors Alice Beard, Howard Barnhard, and F. Dixon Conlin — performed the first bone marrow transplant in the state. They published their findings in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Known for his creative approach to problem-solving, Dr. Ross is described by Michael Muirhead, former oncologist at the Veterans Administration Hospital, where Ross spent the last decade of his career as chief of the Hematology-Oncology Department: "Bill was always interested in cutting-edge technology. Before the VA was online or UAMS was online, before doctors were even using email, he developed the computer capacity to generate individualized medical records and improve communications. This was more than twenty years ago, before computerized systems were taken for granted in hospital administration."

In roles ranging from Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Arkansas Medical Center to Vice President of the Board of Trustees at Leo N. Levi National Arthritis Hospital in Hot Springs to head of the Cancer Registry for the State Department of Health, Dr. Ross received such honors as the American College of Physicians Robert Shields Abernathy Award for excellence in Internal Medicine and the Arthritis Foundation Distinguished Service Award. He was also recognized with the eponymous S. William Ross Award, presented annually by the Arkansas Central Cancer Registry to successful professionals in the field who are highly motivated to make a difference.

According to Dr. Muirhead, "We share a public debt to Bill Ross for having organized the oncology unit and administered it with his unique blend of fairness and firmness, which I think resulted in an extraordinary degree of communication between colleagues."

In his personal life Dr. Ross loved sports. He was an athletic diver, skilled ping pong player, and season-ticket holder for Razorback football games. Passionate about baseball, Dr. Ross grew up with bat in hand. Author Mark Harris modeled one of the characters in his novel, Bang the Drums Slowly, on his childhood friend, Billy Ross.

Dr. Ross is survived by his wife of 69 years, Charlotte Ross; daughters Pamela Bona, Leslie Patterson and her husband Ralph, Meredith Ross, Linda Ross; grandchildren and their spouses Rachael Bona Bonser, Jennifer Bona, Rebecca Patterson Karim, Samantha Patterson Sloan, Elliot Kumpe; and nine great-grandchildren.

The Ross family wants to thank those who cared for Dr. Ross round-the-clock with competence and compassion: Terri Ruffin, Robert Brikha, Dawntea Crutchfield, Tony Brikha and Tina Sharif.

A celebration of his life will be held December 7, 11am, at Temple B'nai Israel, 3700 North Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Foundation College of Medicine Founders Society expressly in memory and for as the family may designate.

Arrangements are by Griffin Leggett Healey & Roth, 501-661-9111.