Charlie Ross

Charles Ross, an ex-boxer who turned columnist, 75

Allison Mudge, Globe Correspondent · April 3, 2006

Charles W. Ross Jr., a former US Navy boxer and intelligence officer who later wrote weekly columns for the North End's Post-Gazette, died March 30 at his home in Milton. He was 75.

As an amateur boxer, Chief Ross fought aboard ships, at bases, in Boston, and in Haiti, Cuba, Italy, and France. Although he declined a spot on the All-Navy boxing team because it would prevent future promotion in rank, he remained connected to the sport throughout his life, his family said.

Mr. Ross served as a writer for Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, the "father" of nuclear submarines, while assigned to pre-commissioning detail of the USS Bainbridge, the world's first nuclear-powered frigate, which was launched in Quincy in 1962.

After his retirement from the Navy, Mr. Ross joined the International Longshoreman's Association, working in Charlestown and South Boston before retiring in 1998.

"He had a love for the sea," said his wife, Kathleen (Calway) Ross. "We get very nervous when we're too far from the ocean."

Born in 1931, Mr. Ross joined the Navy in 1947, a year before graduating from high school.

He retired with the permanent rank of chief petty officer in 1967, his family said.

During the 1980s, Mr. Ross began writing weekly columns for Boston papers. When the Post-Gazette's boxing columnist died, Mr. Ross took over and found himself writing about boxing in "Punchlines," a column with its own catch phrase: "Keep punching."

Before illness prevented it, Mr. Ross took and developed the photos for his columns, which he wrote on an old typewriter, said his daughter Kimberly J. Daly of Rockland. He continued writing during his illness; his wife mailed his final column last Monday.

Mr. Ross was a member of many organizations, and he won a slew of boxing awards, his family said.

He married his first wife, the late Lillian Hare, in 1953. They had nine children before divorcing in 1991. He remarried in 1994.

Mr. Ross also enjoyed traveling to historical sites along the East Coast, Kathleen Ross said.

A trivia buff, he would ask questions at the dinner table, promising a dollar to whoever answered correctly, Daly said. Mr. Ross continued to send his children trivia questions in the mail with a note that the first to reply with the correct answer would receive a dollar. Daly and her siblings often joked that over the years, the monetary prize never went up.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Ross leaves six other daughters: Lydia M. Della Barba, Sheryl L. Kenney, and Amy K. Murphy, all of Weymouth; Theresa L. Smith of Avon, Cynthia A. Shaughnessy of Braintree, and Judith E. O'Leary of Abington; a son, Charles W. Ross III of Coronado, Calif.; a stepdaughter, Sheryl Hoss O'Brien of Whitman; two stepsons, William Hoss of Rockland and Joseph Hoss of Jupiter, Fla.; a brother, Gerald B. Ross, and sister, Charlene M. McLellan, both of Quincy; and 23 grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. today in Saint Elizabeth's Church in Milton. Burial will follow in St. Mary Cemetery in Randolph.

[From the Boston Post Gazette Online]

Charlie Ross, boxing photojournalist, has been writing his "Punchlines" column for the Post-Gazette since the mid-1980's. Charlie began writing his weekly boxing column upon the demise of Charlie "Lefty" Luongo.

Born and raised in Framingham, Massachusetts, his family later moved to "Beantown" (Boston, Massachusetts). Charlie called Southie home until a move to Milton, Massachusetts in 1999. He is married to the former Kathleen Calway of Abington/Rockland, and, jointly, they have 12 children and 22 grandchildren.

In addition to being a photojournalist, he is also a Chief Petty Officer, USN (ret.), and a member of Local 1066, International Longshoreman's Union (ILA) (ret.).

Charlie is a former U.S. Navy amateur bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight and Jr. welterweight, 1948-1962 (30-0, 1 No Decision), appearing in Boston, Rhode Island, Virginia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Italy, France, Spain and various other ports at Navy "smokers," on-base and shipboard. He declined All-Navy competition to remain in rating for a Navy career. Charlie was selected for appointment to Warrant Officer in 1965 and retired in the permanent rank of Chief Petty Officer in 1967. His sea assignments included Cruisers and Destroyers and his shore duty included Navy Recruiting and Navy Intelligence.

In addition to appearing in Boston's Post-Gazette, "Punchlines" also appears in Ring Sports (Reno), Boxing World (Ohio), and other newspapers and periodicals.

Past Vice President, National Veteran Boxers Association
Past Regional Director, New England/New York, Cauliflower Alley Club
Past Vice President, V.B.A., International Ring FOUR (Boston)
President, Vice President, Military Intelligence Association of New England
Present Mass. Representative, American Association for the Improvement of Boxing (Headquartered at New York)
Present Trustee, So. Boston Sports Hall of Fame Scholarship Fund
Present Executive Board Member, National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame (Boston Chapter)
Present Co-National Historian, International Veteran Boxers Association
Present Member, Mass. State Boxing Commission and IBF/USBA Ranking Committees
Inducted Member, V.B.A., Ring-4 Hall-of-Fame (1994)
Inducted Member, So. Boston Sports Hall-of-Fame (1995)
Inducted Member, World Boxing Hall-of-Fame, Los Angeles (1995)
Inducted Member, New Jersey Boxing Hall-of-Fame (2000)
Honorary Member, Washington, D.C. Boxing Hall-of-Fame
Honorary Member, Rings ONE (Philadelphia) and SEVENTY-TWO (San Francisco)
Honorary Member, Golden State Boxing Association (Los Angeles)
Governor William Weld Appointee to Mass. Boxer's Fund Board, 1997. Declined.


So. Boston St. Patrick's Day Grand Marshall Award, 1991
First President's Award, Ring-4, Veteran Boxers Association (1992)
Cauliflower Alley Club Honoree, Springfield, Mass.(1994)
"Tommy Greb" Award, Boston (1994)
"Fr. Henry Bouchie Memorial Award for Sportsmanship," Boston (1996)
"Outstanding Boxing Writer's Award," presented by Neutral Corner, Inc., Hartford, Conn.(1997)
"Media Man" Award, V.B.A., International Ring FOUR (Boston), (2000)


Inter Continental Boxing Council
International Boxing Organization (I.B.O.)
International Boxing Hall-of-Fame, Canastota, N.Y. (General Membership
International Prize Fighters Association


Top Three, Military Retired Association
Branch THREE, Fleet Reserve Association
U.S. Navy Cruiser Sailor's Association
National Chief Petty Officer's Association
Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 22, So. Boston
V.F.W., Thomas J. Fitzgerald, Post 561, So. Boston
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, Division ONE, Boston
Friend of Irish Freedom
Boston Gaelic Fire Brigade
So. Boston, Milton and Brockton Historical Societies.
Castle Island Association, So. Boston
U.S. Lighthouse Society (Mass. Chapter)
National Counter Intelligence Corps Association
Naval Intelligence Professionals (McLean, Va.)

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