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Former BLET General Counsel Harold Ross, 1931-2020

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, November 30 — Harold A. Ross, long-serving General Counsel of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, passed away on November 26, 2020. He was 89 years old.

He served as the union’s General Counsel from 1967-2011. In more than four decades of distinguished legal service to the BLE and BLET, Ross twice argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, winning Landers v. Amtrak and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers on April 27, 1988 and ICC v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers on June 8, 1987.

In 2004, he had the distinction of being named an honorary member of the Union, a rare honor bestowed upon fewer than 20 individuals in the union’s 157-year history. He was regarded as one of the foremost authorities on the Railway Labor Act

Brother Ross graduated from Harvard Law School in 1956 before serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Polk, La. His work for the Brotherhood began during Guy Brown’s term as Grand Chief Engineer in November of 1958. After a brief hiatus, Brother Ross returned to the Brotherhood in 1963 and began serving as its General Counsel on September 1, 1967.

Brother Ross is predeceased by his wife, Elaine L. Ross, who passed away in 2016. He is survived by three children: Leslie Choma (George); Gregory (Paula); and Jonathan; and one grandson, Benjamin Choma. Greg has worked for Brotherhood for over 20 years and currently serves the BLET National Division as Director of Communications, Director of Legal Affairs, and Assistant to the Office Administrator.

“From Guy Brown in 1958 to myself in 2011, Harold Ross provided legal counsel to 15 different Brotherhood presidents,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “Brother Harold has had a profoundly positive and lasting impact on our Brotherhood. I extend our deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time.”

A funeral mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, December 4, at St. Bernadette Church (2256 Clague Rd., Westlake, Ohio). Face masks and social distancing are required. Interment will be at St. Joseph Cemetery in Avon, Ohio. A celebration of Harold’s life will be held at a later date when everyone can gather safely.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you wear a mask and send donations to the Greater Cleveland Covid-19 Rapid Response Fund at the Cleveland Foundation, or the American Heart Association.

Monday, November 30, 2020

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