Robert P. Ross, Sr. and Norma Ross
Robert P. (Bob) Ross, Sr. (1934-1997) and Norma Ross (1934-2010) were a power couple in corporate and civic life in Dayton. Mr. Ross graduated from the first Minority Dealers Academy at General Motors. He became the first African American automobile dealer in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia and the first African American International Harvester dealer in the U.S. In 1979, when he purchased a dealership in Centerville, Ohio, he became the first African American Mercedes-Benz dealer in the world, garnering many national awards for his business. Wright State University, The United Negro College Fund, Boy Scouts of America, Selectmen and the NAACP benefitted from his civic contributions. When he passed away unexpectedly, Mrs. Ross (Norma) assumed command of Bob Ross Dealerships and played an integral role in growing the business. Mrs. Ross and the dealership earned many business awards for leadership and achievement. A graduate of Earlham College, Mrs. Ross was recognized for her community and college alumna involvement with numerous local and national honors. She is remembered as the founder of the Saturday Academy at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. The couple enabled their family and staff to continue their successful entrepreneurial achievements.