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Pete Ross loved Silverdale Pee Wees
For more than 40 years, Cornelius “Pete” Ross Jr. made the Silverdale Pee Wees one of his top priorities. Even following his death on June 10, Ross is still giving back.
In lieu of flowers, Ross’ wife of 55 years, Dona, has requested that donations be made directly to Silverdale Pee Wees, Hospice of Kitsap County or the American Cancer Society.
“I think his feeling as well as mine is whatever we have to offer the kids keeps them off the streets,” Dona said.
The Ross’ got involved with Silverdale Pee Wees in 1967, when his own son Alan and daughters Cindy Parker and Renne Leeper were still playing sports. In 1972, the couple established the first softball program for Silverdale-area girls, connected to the Pee Wees.
“We always thought that girls should be kept with the boys in sports,” she said. “We just felt the girls needed sports the same as the boys.”
Ross fought long and hard to establish Ross Field. But that provided a series of life-long battles in and of itself.
Dona said she remembered when Highway 3 initially came through. The state wanted to use the land the fields were housed on, offering what she said was a less-than-fair rate.
“Pete said, ‘No sirree. That land’s worth a lot more than that,’” Dona said.
Eventually, after a long battle, the state settled, with the Pee Wees using the money gained to build the current field house at the complex, located on Schold Road, off of Clear Creek Road. That was the first of many similar battles over the years.
Dona said Pete stayed involved with the ongoing development of the field, helping form two more ball fields known as the Cornfields, located at Central Valley Road and Paulson Road.
In fact, prior to the flooding that caused severe field damage this past fall and winter, Pete pointed out several flaws regarding the design, from pipe sizes to drainage.
“More than once he was down there with them saying, ‘This isn’t going to work,’” Dona said. “And it didn’t.”
Not just staying involved for the field’s sake, Silverdale Pee Wees President Rich Huddleston said in an online statement that Pete still enjoyed attending games too.
“If you had the pleasure of knowing Pete, then you knew he loved watching children playing sports in a safe place at Ross Field,” Huddleston stated on www.spwaa.org.
In fact, Dona said it was common to run into former players Pete had coached.
The Pee Wees and the Ross family plan on erecting a flag pole alongside the existing American flag at the field complex in Pete’s memory that will sport the flag of the Pee Wees.