Cover photo for Kenneth W. Ross's Obituary
Kenneth W. Ross Profile Photo
1937 Ken 2024

Kenneth W. Ross

August 3, 1937 — March 11, 2024


Kenneth Wilbur Ross, 86, passed away peacefully in the Maine Veterans' Home in Machias on March 11, 2024. He was born on August 3, 1937 in St. Stephen, New Brunswick to Hubert and Nellie (Tyler) Ross of Red Beach, Maine. The second of five children, he is predeceased by his elder brother, Norman Ross, and is survived by James Ross of North Carolina, Mary (Ross) Lane of Bangor and Carl Ross of Red Beach. He attended Calais High School and served in the U.S. Air Force before earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado. He went on to earn his Master's and Ph.D. degrees in international relations from the American University in Washington, D.C. during which he served one year as an Intelligence Analyst for the U.S. Department of Justice. He taught political science at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan from 1967-97 before retiring as Professor Emeritus.


Dr. Ross, and his former wife, Pamela (Johnson) Ross, lived a semi-subsistence lifestyle for a year in Arctic Alaska in 1966 and returned periodically which contributed to his devoting much of his life to environmental causes. He completed a year of post-doctoral work at the University of Michigan in environmental education, founded the Environmental Council of Lenawee (ECOL) County, Michigan, published two volumes of Alaska environmental history, and devoted countless hours as a land-preservation volunteer for Lenawee County’s Bicentennial Woods as well as Michigan Nature Association preserves.


Upon returning to his roots in Maine, Ken played a key role in several environmental campaigns around his beloved Cobscook Bay including opposition to the Pennamaquan Dam, helping to found Friends of Cobscook Bay, and opposition to a proposed metallic mineral mine in Pembroke. He was the primary plaintiff resulting in the 2019 Maine Supreme Court "Ross decision" giving shore landowners the right to protect rockweed on their shores from commercial harvest, and in 2021 was a founding member of the Maine Rockweed Coalition. He was an avid birder and an interest in local history led to his publishing Washington County, Maine in the Civil War, 1861-66 and New Brunswick Lad: Memories of a World War I Canadian Soldier.


Ken is survived by his two children, Wendy (Ross) Umbriac of Ann Arbor, Michigan and Hugh Tyler Ross of Berkeley, California, and two grandchildren, Kristen and John Umbriac of Ann Arbor, Michigan. His cremains will be laid to rest in the Red Beach Cemetery. 


In remembrance of Ken’s life, the family asks that any charitable donations be made in lieu of flowers to the Rockweed Children’s Book Project at 


A celebration of life for family, friends, and the community will be held on August 4, 2024 from 1 - 4PM at the Center for Ecological Teaching and Learning, 27 Suffolk Rd, Dennysville located off South Edmunds Road. Bring along your favorite side dish and memories to share.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kenneth W. Ross, please visit our flower store.


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