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As It Was: Frank E. Ross Directs Post-War Program in Poland

Frank E. Ross traveled far and wide, but after a lifetime of adventure, returned to his roots in Jackson County, Ore., where he became president of the Southern Oregon Historical Society and served on the Jacksonville Museum board.

Ross was born in 1897 on Blackwell Hill, overlooking the Rogue Valley. He was the third generation of an Oregon pioneer family.  His father operated a successful mine, and his pioneer grandfather acted as an interpreter for the Rogue River Indians.

Although a successful structural engineer who helped build the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Ross was most proud of helping European refugees after the Second World War.

Ross went to Poland in 1945 as a director of the U.N. Displaced Persons Program. He oversaw a cross section of Eastern Europeans and a group of "White Russians" from Czarist Russia who had escaped the Communists.  Ross was determined not to turn them over to the Communists, so he stalled until the Communists tired of waiting and left. 

In gratitude, the refugees gave Ross a large painting of the camp with their signatures on the back, thanking him for his “goodwill and patience.” 

Sources: Hamilton, Eva. "Frank W. Ross: Structural Engineer." Medford Mail Tribune, 16 May 1965, p. B1.

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Sharon Bywater of Ashland, Oregon grew up in Southern California. She taught English literature and writing at Syracuse University in New York, where she also wrote and edited adult literacy books and published freelance articles in local media. Later, she lived in Washington, D.C., where she worked as an international telecommunications policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has Master’s degrees in English and Communications Management.