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Remembering Pete Ross
Under sunshine and a sparkling powder blue sky, the Silverdale Pee Wee Adult Association gathered Saturday outside the Ross Field Clubhouse to honor perhaps its brightest member, Cornelius “Pete” Ross Jr.
With about 100 Ross supporters looking on, including wife Dona, Silverdale Pee Wees President Rich Huddleston unveiled a commemorative flag in Ross’ name, hoisting it skyward alongside an American flag adjacent to the clubhouse.
Ross, who died June 10, 2008 at the age of 75, is revered by many for his dedication to Silverdale Pee Wees.
After joining the association in 1967 to coach his then-9-year-old son’s baseball team, Ross negotiated with the state to acquire the parcel of land where Ross Field is currently located, on Schold Road, off of Clear Creek Road. Five years later, he and Dona established the first softball program for Silverdale-area girls, connected to the Pee Wees.
“He was always a doer and at the drop of a hat he would be out doing whatever he thought was necessary for the kids,” Dona said. “The kids were basically his first love.”
Dona called Saturday’s get-together “very emotional,” saying it was hard to describe the feelings associated with seeing such a generous turnout and show of support for both her and Pete.
“The people here are going to take it on for the next umpteen years and keep it going,” she said.
Darin Veach, the director of baseball for Silverdale Pee Wees, a position he’s held for the past 12 years, was among those in attendance who knew Pete, growing to respect him for his dedication and commitment to Silverdale Pee Wees and the kids it serves.
“He was interested, always, in what was going on,” Veach said. “Anything he could do to help, he was in the middle of it, he poured his heart into this.”
While Pete negotiated with both the state and county to secure land for field usage, his labor of love also spilled over to general maintenance and handyman work to coaching and simply being a fan of youth sports.
“We appreciated him so much,” Veach said. “To see this is what I would expect out of the people, just to come out and basically cheer him on after the fact.”
Huddleston also announced the retiring of jersey No. 1 in Pete’s name, meaning no Pee Wee player will wear that number, yet another symbol of Pete’s lasting legacy and impact on Silverdale Pee Wees.
The commemorative orange jersey, colored black across the shoulders with “Pete Ross Jr.” in white lettering, was presented to Dona.
Pete was a life member of the Bremerton Yacht Club, the Elks No. 1181 and the National Ski Patrol. He belonged to the Kitsap Golf and Country Club and was a founding member of the Silverdale Lions and Silverdale Chamber of Commerce.