Christopher Theodore William Ross of Amherst, an attorney, World War II Navy pilot and former president of the board of visitors at the West Seneca Developmental Center, died Monday in Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was 82.
Born in Denver, he came to Buffalo with his parents as a child, spent several years living with his grandparents in Hanover, Germany, during the height of the Depression, and graduated from Hutchinson-Central High School.
A Navy aviator from 1943 to 1946, he was one fo the first pilots assigned to the Niagara Falls Naval Air Station and was involved with the station's first flight-training operations after leaving active duty in 1946.
He also was the naval air station's first legal officer.
A 1950 graduate of the University of Buffalo Law School, he was called back to active duty in 1952 and attached to the Niagara Air Station's Patrol Squadron 851 as a multi-engine pilot.
Later he was assigned legal duties with the Navy in London, England, where he was in charge of legal matters surrounding construction of overseas naval air facilities around the world. He also served as defense counsel at courts-martial in Bremerhaven, Germany. He retired in 1959 as a Navy reserve commander.
He practiced general, criminal and personal injury law as an associate of Lutwak, Parrino and Maurin in Buffalo from 1959 to 1963, then went into solo practices, first with offices in Ellicott Square, then in the Statler Towers. He closed his downtown office in 2001.
Mr. Ross served as president of the board of visitors of West Seneca Developmental Center from 1968 to 1970 and from 1972 to 1974. He was president of the New York State Association of Boards of Visitors in the state Department of Mental Hygiene from 1974 to 1978. He also was a trustee of the Buffalo Boys Clubs.
A member of the state and county bar associations and trial lawyer associations, he also was a member of the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association, Royal Canadian Military Institute and the Naval Reserve Association, where he was legislative vice president.
He also was a member of the Buffalo Athletic Club, Quiet Birdmen, Saints and Sinners and the Silver Wings.
He traveled extensively with his family and enjoyed boating.
Survivors include his wife, the former Luise Maria Reile; a son, Mark A.; and a daughter, Katherine L.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Friday in St. Louis Catholic Church, Main and Edward streets.