We asked friends and colleagues to offer memories of Ross:
Remembering the quirks
I will always best remember Ross for his quirks. From telling every person in the newsroom individually about a co-worker’s change in hair color to the oft repeated, high-pitched “oh” he would exclaim when something piqued his interest, Ross’ quirks are what made Ross the one-of-a-kind character he was.
Many people meeting Ross for the first time, being surprised by his sometimes gruff personality, would often ask me, “What’s up with Ross?”
I would always answer, “That’s just Ross, you get used to it.”
There will never be another Ross Farrow. We will all miss his dedication and friendship.
— Dan Evans, News-Sentinel photo chief
Bonding over our love of cats
I’m sure tributes to Ross will include mentions of the notorious desk, or of his love of crazy sources, emails, signs, tourist attractions, etc.
But for me, the day Ross became more than a collection of quirky behaviors was the day after he learned that Maude — my first cat, who was living in Georgia with my mom — had died. We’d talked about being cat people before, and he’d still had (his own cat) Charlotte at the time. When I came into the newsroom the next day, there was a card on my keyboard, a cat card from Ross. Inside he said how sorry he was for my loss, but that he knew my mom and I had given her as much love as one cat could ever have had, and that she’d had a good life.
In my mind, that was the day Ross went from a co-worker to a true friend. And he’s been one ever since. He was always game for a good laugh, but there was a depth and sensitivity to Ross that maybe was not as obvious. I don’t know many people who have equally sincere friendships with people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and probably 90s. A timeless spirit! I love you, Ross!
— Sara Cardine, former News-Sentinel reporter
‘Hey, Pam, you’ll get a kick out of this’
Ross made getting the news and writing it appear effortless. His genuine concern for friends and fellow colleagues was evident whenever someone he knew was hurt or upset in some way. His laughter filled the newsroom and brightened every day.
My workday was never complete until he would share with me strange emails or phone calls he might receive. I’d hear him laugh and then he’d day, “Hey Pam, you’ll get a kick out of this.” I’d turn around and he would share something funny he read.
I will also always remember how he would tease me about consistently leaving work every day at exactly 5:03. On occasions where I went over that time, he would say, “Hey Pam, you’re late. It’s 5:05.”
His infamous messy desk was always an interesting topic, especially when he would be trying to clean it. His joy over finding five-year-old press releases was funny. “Oh, look what I found!” he would exclaim.
I find it a privilege to have worked with him for 10 years, the last seven of them sitting in front of him. His presence here will be missed.
— Pam Bauserman, News-Sentinel Panorama editor
A fan of ‘Laurel and Hardy’
Ross seemed a generally private person, but the few insights he provided into his non-work life revealed a quirky, offbeat person.
I remember him coming back from a convention of “Laurel and Hardy” fans held somewhere. It was one of the few vacations I remember him taking. I’d never heard of the group and inquired. He was tickled to share his photos and stories with me and the staff. I think we actually assembled in a meeting room for a slide show or PowerPoint. So it was oddly both silly and formal — a combination uniquely Ross.
I’m glad I got to work with him while learning the ropes of reporting and editing, because journalists like him are an endangered species.
— Craig Cassidy, former News-Sentinel city editor, now editor of the Sonora Union-Democrat
A deep knowledge of San Joaquin County
Ross had institutional knowledge about San Joaquin County that is irreplaceable. He was the guy to go to when you had trouble getting started on a complex story. His insight and research was invaluable to me as I covered the North San Joaquin Water Conservation District.
And he was old-school. He’d use the phone book to reach out to sources, a technique lost on many young journalists.
— Jordan Guinn, former News-Sentinel police and courts reporter
‘His work was his life’
For many years, I sat in the cubicle behind Ross and his piles of paperwork (like the 10-year-old vacation request that gave him big smiles one day). He’d often burst out laughing at my questions while I was mid-interview (not distracting, at all). Every day he would recount the best of email spam or recite Facebook posts from LNS alumni who moved on long before my time (not annoying, at all).
But we always laughed over the crazies (we often spoke of them as a collective because Ross couldn’t really speak badly about other people). We talked about the Beatles (because he wanted to be one) and we bonded over roadtrip talk because we shared a mutual love of certain California highways.
One day, like most days, I listened in on most of Ross’ phone conversations. But this conversation struck me differently than the others. I stopped typing and listened. He was doing an interview for a story — a feature obit, I think — on a man in the community. Ross’ tone changed and that call became less of an interview and more of a conversation about this man. Ross had known him, obviously, and told of how this man loved his job and how he felt most at home at his workplace and doing the career that made life worth it. “His work was his life,” Ross had said into the phone.
I sat at my desk thinking that Ross could tell this man’s story because he lived it himself. He was describing himself: A man who found a second family and some of his closest friends in the walls of the newsroom. A man who loved his job more than anything else, except for maybe his toothless cat, the late and great Charlotte.
That is how I will remember Ross (and also as the man who was always the last one to call it a night when we’d go out for newsroom drinks). Oh, and you can’t forget the frozen taquitos, his famous potluck contribution. And the way he could slam down a phone after a heated conversation — it was an impressive skill that always made me laugh at inappropriate times. I’ll always remember his big heart, one that made his voice get high and his eyes water when he’d read of someone’s personal struggle or when he’d learn that a coworker was moving far away.
I left the News-Sentinel a few months ago, in the middle of his health challenges. Sometimes when I’d visit the newsroom he’d be there, always my cheerleader, always a warm voice, sometimes a big hug. He’ll be missed, and I’m not sure I’ll ever walk into that newsroom and not feel like something is missing.
— Lauren Nelson, former Lodi Living editor
A razor-sharp memory for details
Ross was capable of remembering things with amazing clarity and detail. He had the ability to recount stories from even his early childhood and recall details such as the weather that day, the sounds and smells in the air, and what was going on in the world at that moment. I know those close to him will remember with an endearing fondness how the sheer number of details Ross would commit to memory would turn his stories into epic, near-real-time accounts of the event.
Combined with his animated voice and facial expressions, wild hand gestures, and larger-than-life presence was a child’s innocence, honesty and sincerity. Ross was intensely loyal to those who were in his life, and those of us who knew him were never treated to anything less than a gentle and completely genuine man.
His love for the San Francisco Giants may be legendary, but may not have outshined his love for minor league baseball. Many of his vacations involved traveling to obscure minor league baseball parks throughout the country to watch various home games.
He was a gentle soul with an abundance of positive energy, kindness and youthful fascination.
— Dan Stewart, Ross’ nephew
Helping out a green reporter
Since I joined the News-Sentinel right out of college, Ross has been a never-ending source of information. For a very green reporter to have access to a veteran with so much knowledge of history, people and issues in this community was invaluable.
Plus, thanks to Ross, our newspaper has years worth of strange statements uttered in the newsroom recorded for humor and posterity. It’s called our Quote File, and though he didn’t start it, I know he took great joy in keeping track of all the weird stuff we say at work.
The man was simply a part of the newsroom, and it just won’t be the same without him.
— Sara Jane Pohlman, Lodi Living editor
An old-time journalist, and friend, who cannot be replaced
When you work with someone for close to 14 years off and on and in some capacity (editor, peer, mentor) you get to know them well. When Ross’ niece told me via social media that he had passed, I still wasn’t prepared, though I had visited him in the hospital just six days earlier.
Ross had become my friend, and I often found myself feeling bad that he never married or had children. But I realized the communities of Lodi and Galt were his friends, for this is where he felt the most comfortable. Everyone knew Ross, and even those that he made mad at times still liked him.
As a team, we covered some big issues together: 9/11, elections, graduations. He was a respectable, old-time journalist who can never be replaced. And he was my dear friend, one that can never be replaced.
— Jennifer Bonnett, News-Sentinel Galt reporter
A newsroom fixture
Ross could be described in two words: organized chaos. I think he preferred it that way. Ross’s mind was sharp, he remembered everything. And he certainly wouldn’t let you forget that either.
Ross was a conversationalist, able to talk about anything. He was a fixture in a newsroom that is ever-changing, where people have come and gone. Somehow, Ross stayed Ross.
Ross was quite the individual, and he never apologized for being anything other than himself. Sometimes messy, so often gentle, Ross will always be Ross. He will certainly be missed.
— Katie Nelson, former News-Sentinel police and courts reporter
A passion for reporting
One of the things that always impressed me was the passion Ross had for the subjects he was interested in. He could talk about anything from religion and politics to Cajun food for hours without getting bored or running out of information. Sometimes this could be a problem — like when deadline was creeping up and we were already cutting things close — but Ross was always happy to pick up a conversation later.
He applied that same passion and energy to his job. I can’t count the number of days he stayed in the newsroom to do a little more work late into the night, long beyond when any other reporter would have headed home. Even when he began having health problems, we’d get occasional calls and emails to make sure we hadn’t missed some bit of news. His dedication to his career was completely unmatched.
— Kyla Cathey, News-Sentinel news editor
Goodbye to a good friend
It will seem odd to me to walk into the News-Sentinel office and not be able to visit with Ross. We always seemed to have a good conversation about a lot of things; sometimes about church page information and sometimes just the world and Lodi in general. It will also be strange not to see him at special events: at the Legion, at St. John’s, at the lake — and even my 90th birthday party!
I am so glad we had weekly conversations during his hospitalization; I was able to update him on a few goings on and ask his advice about some church stories I was writing. While I will miss Ross, I am also glad that he is free from the problems that beset him, and very likely interviewing some of the best of us in a better place.
— Gwin Mitchell Paden, News-Sentinel columnist
Staying late to get the story in the paper
He loved and reveled in working in the newsroom and being a journalist. With new reporters, he would always tell stories about their sources, and he loved showing newbies the ropes. One of his favorite things to do was start laughing hysterically, and then read out funny letters and spam messages he received, so everyone could share in the joke. He knew so much about Lodi, and he had an extreme dedication to the job. If it was a choice between working a 12-hour day or a story not making it into the paper, he worked the long day.
Ross was a great friend. We used to go to the farmers markets as a newsroom, and Ross always loved to come have a beer, talk about the Giants and or give us a bit of trivia on something he learned from watching Huell Howser. Even as an adult, Ross managed to maintain his love of silliness, whether it was wearing hats he would get from the Grape Festival, posing with mascots or dressing in different costumes while visiting New Orleans. Ross had a love of animals, especially his cat Charlotte, and he always enjoyed watching the Parade of Lights or attending events while he worked on Sunday.
— Maggie Creamer, News-Sentinel senior editor
A gleeful sense
From time to time, Ross would burst into my office and announce: “Hey Rich, I think I’ve got a good one.” He’d proceed to tell my about his latest scoop, and he couldn’t wait to write it up. He’d talk as if he’d just found a $100 bill on the sidewalk.
This business can and does burn people out. Not Ross.
After so many years of facing deadlines, after writing thousands of stories, he retained a child-like glee about his job.
— Rich Hanner, News-Sentinel editor
A tribute to Ross
Most people will remember Ross as a dedicated reporter, a great co-worker and caring friend who would do anything for anyone. And I, too, will remember him as all of these things.
But for me Ross was also timeless. When I first became a co-worker of his, I would watch in awe as he easily struck up a conversation with anyone who would listen. It did not matter if they were young or old, Republican or Democrat, religious or not, or whether he was working or out in public, Ross was always attentive and willing to listen or offer an antidote or bit of wisdom he acquired along his life journey. Ross was a true people person.
I will miss his willingness to share all things newsworthy, whether it be professionally or personally. I will miss our animated discussions on just about everything under the sun. And mostly I will miss the kind gentle soul that was Ross Farrow.
Ross will be missed and remembered often.
— Machelle Homer, News-Sentinel newsroom assistant