Remembering Brad Ross

William Bradford “Brad” Ross III, grandson of the nation’s first female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, died Dec. 11, 2017, after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 76.


Brad Ross

Brad was born on June 29, 1941, in Olympia, Wash., to Bradford and Dorothy Hardy Ross while his father was stationed there during World War II. He was raised in Washington, D.C.; attended Avon Old Farms, Conn.; majored in political science at the University of Wyoming; and proudly served his country in the U.S. Coast Guard within their Search and Rescue Division.

On March 16, 1979, Brad married Robinette Davis in Naples, Fla., and together they had two children, Nellie Tayloe Ross (Sanders) and William Bradford Ross IV. Brad was a business consultant with a concentration on real estate throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. In later life, he enjoyed raising cattle and horses at his family home, Maiden Point Farm, Newburg, Md. In retirement, Brad and Robinette lived in Williamsburg, Va.

Brad was the grandson of two Wyoming governors — Governor William Bradford Ross and Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross. His grandparents were also the first independently elected husband and wife governors in the United States. Brad committed his life to sharing his grandmother’s achievements through the family’s donation of the Nellie Tayloe Ross Collection to the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming. This collection resulted in a historical book about Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross titled, “Governor Lady: The Life and Times of Nellie Tayloe Ross” by Teva Scheer and a Wyoming Public Television documentary titled, “Nellie Tayloe Ross – A Governor First.”

Brad’s interests included advancing Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross’s legacy, who was also America’s first female director of the United States Mint under Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower.

Bradford was preceded in death by his parents, Bradford and Dorothy Hardy Ross; and two brothers, David Tayloe Ross and John Hardy Ross. He is survived by his wife, Robinette Davis Ross of Williamsburg, Va.; and their children, Nellie Tayloe Sanders, and her husband, Rep. Michael Sanders of Kingfisher, Okla., and William Bradford Ross IV, and his wife, Avery Walker Ross, of Alexandria, Va., Aviza Grafel, and her husband, Matt Grafel, of Winchester, Va.; brother, Robert Tayloe Ross, and his wife, Laurie Hughes Ross, of Richmond, Va.; niece, Catherine Tayloe Ross of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and nephews, James Tayloe Ross of Alexandria, Va., and David Tayloe Ross of Fredericksburg, Va.; grandchildren, Davis Lee Sanders and Walker Tayloe Sanders of Kingfisher, Okla., and Erik, Emma and Connor Grafel of Winchester, Va.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 14, at Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg, followed by a reception at the Custis Tenement House.  A private internment will be held in St. Paul’s Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Center of Family Love, P.O. Box 245, Okarche, OK 73750; or Bruton Parish Church, 331 W. Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg, VA 23185.

Share online condolences with the family at

Text and photo courtesy of the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily.

This entry was posted in Collection donor, Current events, Obituaries, Ross, Nellie Tayloe, Uncategorized, Wyoming history. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply