Catherine Louise Sheldrick Ross died peacefully on September 11, 2021 following biliary cancer at 75 years of age.
She is predeceased by her husband, George, and survived by her son Jacob Ross, her daughter, Sarah Ross, her son-in-law, Zachary Wills, and her grandsons, Finley, Beckett and Cormac Wills.
Catherine Ross, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, was born on November 4, 1945, to Russell and Elsie Sheldrick in London, Ontario. She studied at the University of Western Ontario (BA, PhD, MLIS) and the University of Toronto (MA). She continued at the University of Western Ontario as a Professor, and later as Dean, in what is now the Faculty of Information and Media Studies. Her research focused on the experience of readers, on reference services and readers’ advisory, and on Canadian literature, particularly the works of Alice Munro. She is the author of numerous scholarly books as well as four children’s books.
Her research on reading for pleasure grew out of her own lifelong passion for reading. Beginning with the nightly reading of stories to her children, and later to her grandchildren, she spread this love of books and of learning to the whole family.
Cath traveled the world for a year with her husband, backpacking through remote countries before cell phones and internet made this easy. After retirement, she hiked the Camino. She loved camping, and took yearly canoe trips with her family in the Ontario wilderness, particularly Killarney Provincial Park. She was expert at knot tying and could light fires with a single match. For the last ten years, she spent much of her free time at her cottage on the Bruce Peninsula, where she enjoyed swimming, kayaking, and hiking with her dogs, Ruby and later Blue.
Catherine was a wonderful mother, wife and friend. She was a rock. She was always dependable, supportive, and loving. She was energetic and optimistic about life, even to the end after her cancer diagnosis. Her family, friends, colleagues and students will remember her as someone who combined selfless generosity with unfailing strength and courage. We will miss her greatly.
A private funeral will be conducted at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church on Saturday September 25 at 11:00 a.m. There will also be a Zoom broadcast. Please email the funeral home at email@example.com for an invitation.
Friends are welcome to join that day in a Celebration of Life at the Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre for a light lunch from 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. Please Register your attendance through Eventbrite (copy and paste the link):
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Bruce Trail Conservancy to support a land trust for the protection of natural areas on the Niagara Escarpment, to the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS) at UWO to support graduate education in Library and Information Science, or a charity of your choice.
Condolences may also be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
September 26, 2021, 1:23 pm
Dear Sarah, I have fond memories of your mom and Im thinking of you during this difficult time. You and your family have suffered such a loss, as has everyone who loved and respected your amazing mother. I learned so much about her from her obituary. I made a contribution to the Bruce Conservancy. It was a pleasure to donate in her honour. Wishing you and your family the continued strength and comfort required to get through this time of terrible grief, Leslie Garber
September 18, 2021, 2:52 pm
Dear Ross Family and friends, Cathy and I just to express our deepest condolences. I was in one of Cath’s first SLIS classes in 1979 and worked with her until her retirement. She was a great and much respected person, scholar and administrator. Most of all I will forever remember her tremendous kindness, empathy and subtle wit. A truly wonderful person is no longer with us but she will never be forgotten by those lives, intersected hers.
September 16, 2021, 9:19 am
Dear Jacob and Sarah and family. I was saddened to read of your mothers death. What a lovely person she was in every way. I have fond memories of you all. Blessings and good wishes to you all. Peter Davison
Mary K Chelton
September 15, 2021, 7:56 pm
Catherine was my friend and mentor. She served as the outside member of my dissertation committee, and helped review several articles prior to publication, since we shared a passionate love for reading and readers advising. I used many of her writings in my classes at Queens College.One of my nicest memories was visiting her in her cottage with my dog Nugget a couple years ago and getting to know her well enough to send a cookbook afterwards. We had such a good time washing Nugget off after he hunted the frogs in front of the cottage, and returned covered in mud very pleased with himself. I loved her, and my personal and professional lives are greatly diminished by her loss. My deepest condolences to her family and Western Ontario friends.
September 15, 2021, 7:41 am
She was my academic advisor when I did my Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree (1994) at Western. A wonderful talented person. My condolences.
Marty and Kinny Kreiswirth
September 14, 2021, 5:38 pm
Catherine was a warm and generous person with a clipped, quiet, but effective sense of humour. I enjoyed very much working with her in Graduate Studies, where she not only showed me the ropes but also the tying and untying of the knots. She had a gentle wisdom that will be missed.
September 14, 2021, 9:14 am
My most sincere condolences to the Ross family. Cath was a wonderful colleagues, always filled with enthusiasm and such incredible passion for research. It was contagious. Cath was a wonderful mentor for so many of us, making us feel incredible welcome at FIMS.
She left an incredible legacy.
September 14, 2021, 6:18 pm
My deepest sympathies to the family. Catherine was incredibly generous with her time and attention. As the Dean in the early 2000s, she brought me to FIMS and made me feel welcome as a faculty. She recently shared her advice on book writing and working with publishers. Conversations with Catherine always took unexpectedly intriguing turns that made me think, question, and appreciate. She will be missed. Remembering a wonderful colleague and keeping her family in thoughts. Vicki Rubin
September 14, 2021, 3:35 pm
How sad to learn of the loss of your mother. She was just a lovely person.
I worked at the Canadian Library Association in the late 1980s and early 90s as Director of Professional Development. Catherine had just published her reference book and we sent her out to conduct a series of workshops across the country. What a production. I was always nervous wanting to ensure that our "star" was well taken care of. We had a few bumps in the road, and quite a few successes. Your mother handled it all with aplomb and grace. Her work was one of my successes. I would not have had that without her. We had several opportunities for conversations and I enjoyed every single one.
Many years later I was hiring coop students from Western and had the chance to speak with her again where I was brought up to date about you, her family. Her pride and love came through and that conversations stuck with me more than any professional conversation.
Losing a mother and grandma is tough. That is the person who knows us best and loves unconditionally. Our library profession has certainly lost a giant, but you all have lost much more.
Please accept my heart felt condolences. Your mother, my librarian colleague, will be remembered and missed.
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