Longtime Ramsay High School choir director passes away

Published: Oct. 12, 2015 at 4:02 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2015 at 4:39 PM CDT
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Myrna Ria Ross (Source: WBRC video)
Myrna Ria Ross (Source: WBRC video)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Current and former Ramsay High School students are mourning the loss of the school's longtime choir director.

Myrna Ria Ross, a teacher at the school for over two decades, died over the weekend.

Her cause of death is unknown at this time.

Ross taught at the school for 22 years and under her leadership the choir received superior ratings at Birmingham's All-City Choral Music Performance and Singing Evaluations for 22 years straight.

This year, the choir performed with a mass choir in Selma for the 50-year "Bloody Sunday" commemoration.

Ross, along with UAB's Dr. Henry Panion III, worked with the choir to perform and record an adapted version of the civil rights movement staple, "We Shall Overcome" called "We Can Overcome."

Ross was no stranger to the civil rights struggle in Birmingham herself.

She and her sister helped integrate the city's Barrett Elementary School.

Ross graduated from Banks High School and earned her degree from Hampton University.

Fellow educators called her a system legacy for the work she did and how she impacted students.

Ross' students recently threw her a party for her 59th birthday, which was on Sept. 9.

She had been suffering during the later part of her life, but she managed to come to school every day because she truly loved her job and her kids.

"We know she was a very understanding person, and she is here in spirit, and we're going to keep on going because she was such a positive person, and she rubbed off on us. We're going to remain positive, we're going to keep on going," concert choir student Shannon Robinson said.

Several of her former students and colleagues shared memories of the late teacher on social media.

Counselors were available on campus Monday, Oct. 12 for students.

Ross' family members say her funeral will be held at New Birth Birmingham near Center Point Parkway on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 11 a.m. Ramsay's choir will perform, along with alumni.

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