Maureen Catherine (Thornell) Ross, 58, of Indiana, died Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Danbury, Conn.
She was born June 20, 1961, in New Rochelle, N.Y., the only child of Stephen J. and Irene (Grab) Thornell.
Maureen lived her early childhood years among her mother’s extended family in the New York area. Following her mother’s death in 1968, she was raised by her father in Yardley, Bucks County. Maureen graduated from Bishop Conwell High School, Levittown, in 1979 and enrolled at St. Francis College in Loretto.
Going “back home” during college years meant trips both to her dad’s home a few hours from the New Jersey beaches, and to stay with her grandparents, William and Nellie Grab, and her uncle, John Grab (now of Indiana), near her all-time favorite hot dog shop, Walter’s, in New Rochelle.
Maureen earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from SFC in 1983. She met Chauncey Ross during her senior year in Loretto; they married on Aug. 4, 1984, and Maureen followed Chauncey and his work to Indiana in 1986.
She had no siblings by birth but had countless sisters at heart: her cousins Mary Bridget Dussault, Catherine Dussault Alexis and Maureen Dussault Vigna, of Hopewell Junction, N.Y.; Marilyn Grab, of Lowville, N.Y.; Margaret Grab Brown, of Clinton, N.Y.; Barbara Grab Cushing, of Lowville; and Kathy Cahill and Ann Carlon, of Nashua, N.H.; her high school besties Mary Ellen Boyle Lorenz, of Rosemont, and Tracy Kozinski Rodriguez, of Philadelphia; her college roommate and matron of honor, Karlene Wychulis Nelmes, of Hazleton, and their circle of friends; confidante Jan LaMorte, of Homer City, and all the other weavers that shared the table for Thursday night basket classes for more than 20 years at Jan’s Locust Grove Baskets shop; Val Davis and her weekend crafting buddies at The Hemmed Inn; and her colleagues, including Kelly Price, Billie Connell, Christina Hetrick, Debbie Stupic, Jocelyn Milby, Carrie Cowie and Beth Cattau at the Adagio Health WIC of Indiana office from 1996 to 2015. They all are left with happy memories of Maureen’s smile and laughter.
Maureen had no children of her own but was a second loving mom to untold numbers of pre-schoolers that she nurtured through the Indiana County Child Care Program from 1987 to 1994, and the babies and toddlers that came to the WIC clinic. Her nephew and nieces, Travis (Lori) Ross, of Austin, Texas; Keely Ross, of Charleston, S.C.; and Rebecca (Patrick) Nolan, of Stockholm, Sweden; Travis and Lori’s boys Nate, Liam, Josh and Cole; Keely’s son Rowen; Rebecca and Patrick's baby Oliver; her cousins’ kids, Mary Fallon Alexis, Róisín Alexis, Caitlin Vigna and Conor Vigna; and her coworkers’ children, Lexi Price, Addison Connell, Kaden Connell, Easton Connell and Chloe Cowie, all will remember how she loved them as though they were her own.
She raised many teddy bears over the years.
She adored Elvis, Bruce and Princess Diana.
Maureen’s passions included Winnie the Pooh, antiquing, cheese, sewing, nautical décor, bacon, baby goats, anything else Disney, fabulous seafood, Peanuts cartoons on Facebook, the color purple, weekend craft camps, wombats, cooking for others, following her dear Nana’s family and holiday traditions and especially celebrating her Irish heritage. She lived for her voyages with her sisters back to her grandparents’ homeland and visiting with distant relatives and their friends on the Emerald Isle.
Family meant more to Maureen than all else. She took in and cared for her father when he suffered dementia, from 1994 until his death in 2002. She moved in as caretaker for her aging “Uncle Jack” in Brookfield, Conn., in 2017.
Maureen was preceded in death by her parents; maternal grandparents; paternal grandparents, Stephen and Catherine Sullivan Thornell; her aunt Theresa Gordon; her cousin’s husband, Al Dussault; her uncle, William (Mary) Grab; her cousins, Catherine Grab Powell and William “Buddy” Grab; her mother-in-law, Annette Ross Lauing; and her brother- and sister-in-law, Jeffery and Jacquelyn Ross.
She also is survived by her uncle John Grab; her brother- and sister-in-law, Mike (Debbie) Ross, of Charleston, S.C.; her cousins John (Denise) Grab, of Daniel Island, S.C.; and cousins’ spouses Michael Alexis, of Hopewell Junction; Dan Cushing, of Lowville; and Sally Grab, of Pittsburgh; and Vince Tramacera, of Clinton.
Friends will be received Sunday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rairigh-Bence Funeral Home of Indiana.
A funeral will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Church. Interment will be private.
Donations to assist with funeral expenses will be graciously accepted. Online condolences may be made by visiting www.rbfh.net.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1