MENTONE — There is no better place Barb Ross would want to live than Mentone. She has lived there all her life, except for the two years her late husband, Jerry, was transferred to Morton, Ill., for his job.
They returned and it remains home. “I just like it. It seems like a safe place to be.”
“At one point I could go up and down the streets and tell you who lives there … we’re one big family.” She added Mentone is a “homey little town that’s quiet. I kind of like that. We don’t have the hustle and bustle of a city.”
Ross has had a bookkeeping or clerical profession her entire life. During her high school years she worked at Denton’s Drug Store, then after high school worked at Mentone Lumber Company. From there she went to work for Redcomb, now Cargill, then at LM Berry in Warsaw for 15 years. “I hated that drive,” she laughed. Now she works for the taxpayers in the town she loves.
For 30 years she has been in the clerk-treasurer’s office, the last 22 years as clerk-treasurer. “This is my last job, I think. I’m not planning on another job.” She is also the secretary/treasurer for the Mentone/Tri-Township Fire Department.
Ross has two years left on her term. “I have two years before making up my mind (about seeking re-election). I’ll have to see how my health is and what is going on. There will be a time when I’ll have to give it up I think.”
Ross, the former Barb King, was born in Chicago, and while she was an infant the family moved back to Indiana. She was next to the youngest of five children. Her younger sister is the only one who is still living. She attended Mentone Elementary and graduated from Mentone High School in 1953.
While in high school, she was a member of the Mentone High School Band, playing the mellophone horn — similar to the French Horn and participated in the junior/senior plays. “There wasn’t a whole lot of things to do when I was in school,” she explained.
Throughout the years she has been involved in the school activities of her two children, James (wife, Brenda) who now lives in Akron; and her daughter, Jennifer (husband, Kent) Ganshorn who resides in Mentone. She was a member of Psi Iota Xi, and does what she can at the Mentone United Methodist Church. “I used to sing in the choir for years. I have no voice anymore.”
She was also active in the lives of her grandchildren. That is why the clerk-treasurer’s office is closed Wednesdays. That was the day she would watch them, which moved to picking them up from day care, then preschool. “I made up my mind, I have grandkids, I’m making time for them.” Now that day is spent running what errands she has to do and having lunch in Warsaw with her daughter.
Her spare time is spent reading and crocheting. Many have received the baby afghans she has made and family members have been recipients of afghans.
She enjoys spending time with her children, two grandchildren, three stepgrandchildren and three stepgreat-grandchildren.
She’ll be celebrating her 82nd birthday Jan. 15.