Velma Marie Hilliard Ross

Velma Marie Hilliard Ross, 88, died peacefully in Houston, Texas, August 7. She was born on August 1, 1929 in Beaumont, Texas, the daughter of Cecil O. Hilliard, a small businessman, and Catherine Horkan Hilliard.

The family moved to Houston in the 1930s, where Velma graduated from Lamar High School and then attended the University of Texas. There she met the WWII veteran who was to be the love of her life, Robert Brooks Ross. They were married on July 29, 1950.

It was a warm, loving union that ended only with Bob's death in 2012. Bob was a geologist whose profession led him to Jackson in 1958. There the family lived and both of their children grew up here until 1970, when they returned to Houston.

Velma occasionally taught Spanish but was basically a stay-at-home mom. She became well known as an accomplished seamstress whose clients included several dance studios, the Murrah High School cheerleaders and the Jackson Opera Guild. Such famous stars as Richard Tucker and Roberta Peters visited the Ross home for fittings.

Velma was an active member of St. James Episcopal Church. She was highly regarded for her intelligence, kindness and humor.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Gwen Fraser, and Bob, her husband of 61 years. She is survived by her son, Cecil Ross (Peggy) of Nashville; daughter Corinna Verret of Houston; granddaughter Catherine Pinkston (Bobby) of Pittsburgh, Pa.; grandsons Robert Ross (Marta) of Mt. Ranier, Md., Ross Verret of Austin, Thomas Ross of Reston, Va., and Michael Ross of Nashville; and great-granddaughters Maggie, Lucie and Evie Ross of Mt. Ranier.

According to her wishes, Velma's remains will be cremated and deposited in the columbarium privately. In lieu of cards or flowers, the family would be grateful for donations to a local hospice facility in her memory.


Refill Café is a developing organization, run by Jeff Good, that will open late this year.