IN LIEU of flowers do what Mike would do: a random act of kindness.
Those words speak volumes about the life of Mike Ross, 60, a retired Armed Forces veteran, who ran for city council last year and died Nov. 7 after a long battle with cancer.
“That’s Mike,” said Freda, his wife of 14 years.
“In fact, since he passed away, people have flooded me with stories of him doing things that I never knew about.”
She knew that, at his job at Greyhound, when the bus would come in really late that he would drive everybody home afterward when the weather was bad.
And one day when he went to buy Freda flowers at Bea’s Flowers in the mall, he got talking to the shopkeeper, who said it was tough doing deliveries without her husband’s help – he just had foot surgery – and Mike dropped off flowers for Freda, then went back and spent the day delivering flowers for the shop.
When the air conditioning stopped working at a local pizza place one summer, Mike brought the staff cold drinks, said Freda.
Being civic minded, he always wanted to run for city council but the problem was, due to his time in the armed forces, he was profoundly deaf from the artillery, said Freda.
Mike was in communications with every aspect of the military, and not just the army or navy, she said.
He and his first wife, who also was in the military, had a son and were later divorced.
Freda says she and Mike have three lovely grandchildren.
He was diagnosed with lung cancer in January – he smoked for 42 years – and took seven months of chemotherapy, and responded very well, said Freda.
He returned to work but started to feel a lot of pain; his cancer had spread to his bones and felt “like a rat gnawing at his ribs,” she said.
After that, his condition went downhill quickly.
“I think when the doctors said ‘this is not going away and any treatment at this point is for your comfort only,’ I truly believe he took it upon himself to say ‘ok, I’m checking out,’” said Freda.
“He always had a huge faith that he was going to a better place. He always said he was not afraid to die.”
He had a sense of fun that continues to show at the oncology department at Mills Memorial Hospital.
When he first started going there and the nurses would say it was time for his meds, he said it sounded like Club Med, a name of a tropical resort, said Freda.
“The next time he went in, they gave him water to swallow his meds in a martini glass with a straw and paper hat in it,” said Freda.
A sign that read Club Med was put on the front door of the oncology unit by Dr. Jaco Fourie and is still up, she said.
She has noticed obituaries in the paper that say thanks to the staff at Club Med.
A memorial was held for Mike Ross Nov. 13 at Knox United Church.