After a seven-year battle with two incurable cancers (multiple myeloma and a brain tumor), Patty Crossey-Ross passed away in hospice care at home, in the embrace of her family, January 5, 2012.
Patty was best known as a teacher, enjoying a long, successful career in Colorado Springs District 11. Beginning at Stratton Elementary, she went on to teach at Patrick Henry, Martinez, Sabin, and Jenkins. She was a volleyball coach, a Science Olympiad coach, gymnastics coach, and a High Trails leader, among her many volunteer activities. She was especially well-known for her ability to ‘make learning fun’ in the classroom, to motivate ‘troubled’ kids, and for her positive inclusion of children with disabilities, finding creative ways for them to joyfully participate in activities no one thought possible.
She always took on new challenges, including specializing in science and then art in her last few years, before an extended hospitalization and her first bone marrow transplant forced her retirement from Jenkins in 2005 at the age of 49. (She had two more bone marrow transplants in 2010-11, both at Huntsman Cancer Hospital in Salt Lake City, before entering the Pikes Peak Hospice home-care program in November, 2011.)
Patty was born in 1956 in Madrid, Spain, the fifth of seven children of Anna Mae and Air Force Lt. Colonel James L. Crossey. Crossey’s distinguished career assignments brought Patty and the family to Colorado Springs twice: in 1958 at the Air Force Academy and again in 1965 at Colorado College.
Patty attended Divine Redeemer Elementary and graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1974. She was awarded her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Colorado College in 1977, where she met future husband Rob Ross, also a CC student, in 1975. The two became inseparable from their first day in a class together and were married in Shove Chapel soon after they graduated. Patty went on to earn her Masters Degree in teaching at Colorado College in 1987.
Although Patty never had children of her own, she was a favorite aunt and mentor to many ‘adopted’ children whom she drew into her own large family whenever possible. She was unconditionally devoted to nourishing children with love and good humor, always her best tonic.
An avid skier, Patty made frequent use of her annual season pass at Monarch Mountain and enjoyed conquering the ‘steep and deep’ terrain, even a couple of times during the 2011 season. She earned the love and admiration of several staff members at Monarch, who knew of her challenge just to be there.
Patty was also an avid volleyball player, joining her husband Rob and brother Dan in recreational leagues through the years, enjoying the many relationships with other players as much as her love of the sport itself.
Living on her small ranch in Larkspur for the last 17 years allowed Patty to express many passions, including creating beautiful gardens and keeping horses. She kept and raised numerous quarter horses and was an accomplished rider and trainer. Horses became another way for her to connect with even more children, especially nieces and nephews and the children of adult friends through the years, passing on her love of horses and other life lessons to so many.
Patty’s immediate survivors are Rob Ross (spouse), brothers Jim (Nancy), Dan (Judy), and Michael (Marta), and sisters Maureen Crossey, Ann Crossey, and Kathleen Koehler (Dean) and many beloved nieces and nephews and their children.
Patty is also survived by her faithful service dog, Jesse James. After her health forced her retirement from teaching, she began a new part-time career as an inspirational Pikes Peak Hospice volunteer with Jesse, comforting patients of all ages. (An article and video were published in the Gazette in 2009: gazette.com/articles/ross-48550-crossey-dog.html, gazette.com/video/c/1155254480/news/10721721001)
A visitation will be held at the Shrine of Remembrance Chapel, starting at 5 pm on Monday, January 9th, followed by a rosary at 7 pm. A memorial service will be held at Shove Chapel at Colorado College at 10 am on Tuesday, January 10th. A reception follows at the Slocum Hall Commons from 11 am- 1 pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts to Pikes Peak Hospice (www.pikespeakhospice.org), whose staff provided exceptional care and comfort for Patty and her family.