Friends remember Ross Roe, philanthropist and community member

GRANTS PASS, Ore.– Ross Roe, owner of Roe Motors in Grants Pass, passed away Tuesday evening at the age of 91.

Mr. Roe was a businessman and philanthropic community member of Josephine County for several decades, spending his time and money supporting such causes like the arts and local youth while always working to better his community.

He had been battling cancer for several months.

Since 1983, when Mr. Roe moved his family out from the Midwest, he ran Roe Motors while also being an active member of the community such as taking a position on the school board. While not his birth state, he served it as if it was becoming one of it’s greatest advocates and leaders.

“He’s done all these things, all these 40 years or whatever it is where like I’m saying somebody else might have done them but we don’t know that,” said Cliff Kuhlman, a friend and ex-fellow board member. “The point is he got them done, he got things done.”

Friends like Kuhlman say Roe always had a purpose behind every plan and he spent his time looking for ways to better his community.

“It was always positive and constructive seldom negative about anything,” said Kuhlman.

One of his most well-known achievements was the Josephine County Tree Plant. Started in 1989, the program has taught local youth the value of nature by planting thousands of trees over its course.

“Oh he would be all over the place at the tree plant,” said Lee Webb, a friend and volunteer with the tree plant. “He’d be welcoming the kids in on their buses. He’d be riding the wagons up to the tree plant area.”

While Roe may have left this community, there are plenty of memories of him to carry forward and his friends and family hope to keep bringing the giving spirit that Roe was so well known for.

“As I say he just had an interest in his community because he knew he was supposed to and so he went ahead and did it and his whole family has followed that lead,” said Kuhlman.

A memorial service has not yet been scheduled.

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