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Official Obituary of

Barbara Gemmell (DeGroat) Ross

September 9, 1928 ~ February 17, 2024 (age 95) 95 Years Old

Barbara Ross Obituary

The family of Barbara Gemmell Ross sadly announce her passing on February 17, 2024, at the age of 95 after a long decline from Alzheimer’s disease.

Barbara was born in Hartford, Connecticut on September 9, 1928, to the parents of Helen and Harry DeGroat. She was a graduate of East Hartford High School and worked as an administrative assistant for the Connecticut State Police early in her career.

On February 7, 1947, she married Leslie Laurence Gemmell. They were the devoted parents of Cynthia and Keith Gemmell, and after their birth, Barbara transitioned to her role as a loving mother and homemaker, supporting her children in all of their endeavors.

In 1968, Barbara and Leslie moved to Manchester where they built a barn at their home so their children could pursue their passion for horses. She and Leslie were long time members of the Reddington Rock Riding Club in Ellington, Connecticut. While Barbara did not ride the horses being a self-professed “city girl,” she was always enthusiastically present at camp base, organizing and preparing food and festivities with a wide circle of loving friends. She also attended many horse shows throughout the state and country supporting her children.  

Barbara, Leslie, and their children traveled frequently to the Gemmell family farm in Middletown Springs, Vermont, maintaining loving ties to each of their families throughout their lives. The Gemmell family was very large with many brother and sister-in-laws, nieces, nephews, and extended family to which Barbara was close. Barbara’s organizational and cooking skills were always on display, preparing home cooked meals and desserts for the large family group that gathered in the farm kitchen.

After 40 years of marriage, Barbara endured the loss of her husband Leslie, her beloved sister Claire, and several of her closest friends during a six-month period in 1987. She moved forward in her life with faith, strength, courage, and grace.

She then met and married her second husband, Alexander Ross, in 1992 and rediscovered her long-time passion for dance and travel. The sound of big band music would always have Barbara on her feet dancing, and she jumped at any chance to attend a formal event. Their lives revolved around their mutual love of all types of dances including Latin, ballroom, square, and round dancing. She maintained her health and expert dance abilities until the end of her life, proud of her balance and agility. Together with Alex, she traveled extensively to London, Paris, Argentina, Tunisia, Spain, Bermuda, and Canada. Again, a large and close circle of friends surrounded them and admired their exquisite dance expertise until Alex’s death in 2017.

Barbara was devoted in her Catholic faith and always the consummate mother and grandmother. She would never miss an opportunity to attend any event in the lives of her beloved grandchildren, Leslie and John, and traveled nationally and internationally to attend events and competitions. From the first day of getting on the bus to kindergarten to college graduations and every event in-between, Barbara was there with her love, pride, and support.

In addition to Leslie and Alex, Barbara was predeceased by her sister, Claire DeGroat, of Windsor Locks and her brother, Robert DeGroat, of East Hartford.

Barbara is survived by her two children, daughter Cynthia Ramatowski and her husband John of Lebanon, Connecticut with whom she has lived during the past seven years and her son, Keith Gemmell and his wife, Joann Cortese of Smithfield, North Carolina. She is also survived by her two grandchildren, Leslie Lauren Ramatowski and John Walter Ramatowski of Lebanon. She leaves behind several nieces, nephews, and a half-sister Elizabeth DeGroat and her husband Stuart Simons of Farmington, Connecticut.

As many know, the care of a loved one with advanced Alzheimer’s is all-consuming. It is extremely difficult to watch the person you knew fade away during their slow decline. With the constant care, love, and immeasurable support from her daughter, son-in-law, Leslie, and John, Barbara was able to live at home in comfort with her family for the last ten years of her life. She will be forever missed by all who knew and loved her. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2024, at 9 AM directly at the St. Francis of Assisi Church, 67 W Town St, Lebanon, CT 06249, burial will follow in the St. Mary's Cemetery in Windsor Locks. 

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Funeral Liturgy
February 24, 2024

9:00 AM
St. Francis of Assisi Church
67 West Town Street
Lebanon, CT 06249


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