Ross Lay

Obituary of Ross Gregory Lay

Surrounded by his family, Ross peacefully passed away on Tuesday, December 26, 2023, at the age of 86. Survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Marlene. Loving father of Stephen (Nora), Leslie Belsito (Chris), Tammie Meakin (Kevin), Ron, and Matthew. Loving grandfather of Andrew (Kylie), Kyra (Max), Luke, and Abbey, and great grandfather of Brady, Casper, Rowen, and Milaya. Loving son of the late O. E. “Jack” and the late Lucy Lay. Brother of the late Ron Lay (late Audrey), Nora Jennings (late Art), and Carol Brownlee (late Bob). Brother-in-law of the late Joan Helf, Harvey Willoughby (late Marg), Larry Willoughby (Alice), and Brenda Wierzbicki (late Bob). Ross will be fondly remembered by his many nieces, nephews and extended family. He will be especially missed by Michael and Barry. He was close friends with Tracy VanLandeghem, Geoff Meakin, Fran Glover, Paul Goring, and many others.

Ross was a dedicated worker. He took pride in doing a job well and safely. He could fix anything and come up with innovative ways to solve problems. Sometimes his solutions seemed ridiculous but they almost always worked. He was an innovative handyman and always had a project on the go. Even after retiring, Ross always had some kind of “work” on the go. He often said, “I can’t go yet, there is still too much to do”. There will be many people in the community who now won’t know who to call for help installing, fixing or taking apart “this” or “that”.

Ross worked at Algoma Steel for 35 years but was an electrician for 60+ years. He would often drive around town pointing out to whomever was in the car all the buildings he worked on, street lights he installed, and parking gates he replaced.

He loved his wife and adored his family. With Marlene, they built their family home by hand, with the help of friends. When reminiscing about that year, he would say, “It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun”. The walls of the laundry room in their home are a testament to the joy and love within it. They are covered with messages, pictures and signatures by the children living in the home and the many who visited it over the years. Ross and Marlene’s home was built with more than brick and wood. It was built on love. 

Ross and Marlene’s pride and joy was their camp on Lake Superior where they relocated for the summer months. For years, their camp was filled with the sounds of splashing, laughing, and children having the times of their lives. As the children and grandchildren grew older, those sounds were replaced by the sounds of great grandchildren. Once someone asked Ross how he could stand all the noise, he replied, “children having fun is never noise”.

Ross and Marlene had many four-legged friends who were always a big part of the family: Janie, Josey, Obie, Mandy, Zeb, Lynn, Chester, Joebie, Chelsea, and most recently Tucker who is missing the companionship of his “old man”.

Ross and Marlene attended Holy Trinity Church, where he volunteered many hours of time, including participation in the input design into the future apartment complex that will be built on the location of the current church.  

While Ross could be a quiet man, once you got him talking, he wouldn’t stop. He was an avid reader. Ross could tell stories, regale historical information, or explain the mechanics of how something worked. He was endlessly curious and had an amazing memory for all things. His knowledge was unparalleled. He could have taught many courses. 

Ross was truly a good man at heart. For his family, his love was endless. His wish is that people would always remember him for the man he was. For anyone who met him, there is no chance they wouldn’t.

To honour Ross, take out a “Baci” chocolate (one of his favourites!) and follow the instructions he humorously gave to his family members every time he shared a chocolate with them:

“First, slowly unwrap the chocolate. Look at it. Smell it. Carefully read the label. Then take a small bite, but neverchew it. Let it slowly melt in your mouth. Savour it. Get the most out of it. Slowly take another bite and repeat until the chocolate is gone. Then put the package away for next time so you can enjoy one again later”.

He was very insistent on these instructions. It is only now that we realize he wasn’t only talking about chocolates. He was talking about life. On his final morning, he told his family to: a) “always make the most of every day and each other”; and b) “never take any of it for granted”. Ross made the most out of life. Every single day. 

In keeping with Ross’ wishes, a private family gathering will be held. Memorial donations to the Sault Area Hospital Foundation Critical Care Fund would be appreciated by the family.  Arrangements entrusted to Northwood Funeral Home Cremation and Reception Centre (942 Great Northern Rd, 705-945-7758).