John Ross, Witty, Frank And Honest

One example: “That the Fiji Sun was a better newspaper than the Fiji Times because it had a bigger print run. Plus he was a contributing editor.”
18 Feb 2020 12:17
John Ross, Witty, Frank And Honest
Tony Whitton leads the funeral service for John Ross at Nasoso, Nadi, yesterday Photo: Charles Chambers

The late John Ross was authentic and “always brutally honest which was matched with that Aussie wit.”

The remarks were made during the funeral service for Mr Ross, a columnist for the Fiji Sun and Nadi-based marketing, research and advertising specialist, at his home in Nasoso, Nadi yesterday.

Tribute from a friend

Close friend and Rosie Group of Companies managing director Tony Whitton said this as he led the funeral for Mr Ross, who died last Tuesday, aged 82.

The funeral was attended by family, friends, colleagues and some tourism industry leaders.

Mr Whitton said: “When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I saw two missed calls from Makita (Mr Ross’ wife) which had been made late Tuesday night.

“I knew it was not good news and would have been in relation to John.

“At that moment, there is a flood of memories.

“Anyone who knew him knew his wit and his sometimes flowery claims.”

Mr Whitton said a few weeks before passing away at the Lautoka Hospital on February 11, Mr Ross was preparing for his death and had written a number of letters to be personally delivered.

The last word

“To me, he said, if I could help oversee the house church, plus a whole bunch of other instructions.

“This included having a religious service but not over the top.

He recalled some of the many stories that Mr Ross told over meals.

One example: “That the Fiji Sun was a better newspaper than the Fiji Times because it had a bigger print run.

“Plus, he was a contributing editor.”

“I know he loved Makita.

“As irritating as he was, he was so proud of the kids when they won swimming medals.”

Mr Whitton said he had talked to Mr Ross before Christmas where the latter expressed his curiosity on the feedback he was getting “about the slowdown of Chinese visitors and the work that needed to be done on the Fiji brand.

“I personally enjoyed his columns, particularly the ones on marketing and brand positioning which was his expertise, working in some of the largest advertising agencies in Australia and the South Pacific.”

Mr Ross requested Mr Whitton to tell each of his children he loved them in his own way and that his love would always live on in them.

Personal friend

Fiji National Sports Commission chairman Peter Mazey said he became friends with Mr Ross when the latter first came to Fiji. Mr Maizey said he worked closely with Mr Ross through those years since their first meeting 30 years ago up until his death.

Mr Ross is survived by his wife, and children Kalinda, Netani, Meme, Selina, Robert and sister Suzie King of Australia.

In Suva, Mr Ross was creamated at Dignified Cremations, Davuilevu, after a brief service attended by family and more friends from Suva.


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