Ross Bruce Cheairs Jr

ross cheairs

November 26, 1941 ~ February 13, 2023

Born in: Jackson, TN
Resided in: Decatur, GA

Ross Bruce Cheairs, Jr was born to Avery Mae Jennings Cheairs and Ross Bruce Cheairs, Sr on November 26, 1941, in Jackson, TN. He graduated from Merry High School in Jackson, TN, and went on to attend college at Fisk University in Nashville, TN. Ross pledged to the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and crossed on his birthday on November 26, 1960. During his time at Fisk, he was part of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and participated in sit-ins for civil rights and ending segregation in Tennessee. He graduated from Fisk in 1963.

Mr. Cheairs began his public service career in 1964 as a science teacher at Burt High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. A year later, he was appointed Historian of a manpower development, employment, and training project at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville. Three years later, Mr. Cheairs joined the Tennessee Department of Employment Security to continue his work with the unemployed and underemployed.

Ross met his wife, Eleanor Patricia Banks while she was a student at Lane College in Jackson, TN. They married in 1968 and had their son, Ross Bruce Cheairs, III (Trey) in 1969 in Nashville, TN. The family moved to Buffalo, NY where Ross started a doctoral program and oversaw a management training program at the State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo. Their daughter, Katherine Ann was born in Buffalo in 1976 and the family relocated to Atlanta, GA that same year.

During nearly sixteen years with the Labor Department in Atlanta, he implemented New Careers, Public Service Careers, and Job Corps programs, projects, and contracts. Mr. Cheairs was the first Equal Employment Opportunity and Emergency Preparedness Officer in the Office of the Region Director. Mr. Cheairs began his Army career in the spring of 1987 as the Family Member Employment Program Coordinator with the Fort McPherson Army Community Service. He joined the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) in the fall of the same year. As a member of the Centurion team, he served as a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and Presidential Quality Award examiner. In addition to his undergraduate education, Mr. Cheairs holds master’s degrees in Management, Project Management, and Information Systems Management and is a graduate of the Army Management Staff College. Mr. Cheairs was also a Religious Science practitioner through the Church of Religious Science. In his retirement, Ross was active with the American Society for Quality (ASQ), Blacks in Government
(BIG), Fisk University Alumni Network, and The Sierra Club.

Mr. Cheairs is survived by his wife Eleanor, daughter Katherine, granddaughter, Alexandria Margaret Cheairs, grandsons Brandon Ross Cheairs, and Anthony Joseph Cheairs. His beloved son Ross Bruce Cheairs, III passed away on July 4, 2021.

Mr. Cheairs loved knowledge and learning. He was an avid reader and a patron of the arts. A true Renaissance man.

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