Short story collection debut honors the Ross legacy

Friends say some of their fondest memories began with a story from Tommy Ross. 

Not only will they bring you a laugh, but they will also give hope to many at Vanderbilt University Hospital. 

A longtime Adamsville resident, teacher, horseman and banker, Ross held a book signing at the Adamsville First United Methodist Church on July 17. 

The book, “Tommy’s Tall Tales from Adamsville,” was many years in the making. Ross wrote stories for years and posted them onto social media. Little did he know that his daughter, Janet Ross of Brentwood, Tennessee, had been copying and pasting the collection into a document for some time.

“As you know, dad has a million stories, and he has always told them. For years, people have been saying [he needs] to write a book. 

Dad puts stories on Facebook and has done that for years. They are hysterically funny and true, and so about five years ago, I started copying them, as I wanted to keep them. Back in the fall, I happened to be scrolling through, and it was at 90 pages, so I told mom it is time to do this book. We thought it would be a great fund raiser for the foundation,” said Janet. 

Janet’s clever thinking sparked an idea to surprise her father with a book for Christmas. Working in tandem with her mother, a graphic designer, and friends in the publishing business, the book came to life. 

The book is a collection of heartwarming remembrances about those who impacted his life. You’ll be certain to recognize many names and events shared in only a way that Ross can. The tales will no doubt carry you back to a time when life was simpler and friendships were what counted the most.

If you ever meet Ross, you never forget him–he is a stranger to none. As a native to Adamsville and an only child, life has taken him through many adventures. After obtaining a degree in Industrial Management from Memphis State University, Ross taught and coached basketball at Leapwood Elementary School and spent some time working with the McNairy County Schools central office. He sold group insurance for Blue Cross Blue Shield for several years before joining the Bank of Adamsville in the early 1970s. 

At the bank, Ross shared many stories; there was never one that did not make you laugh. One story that his daughter recollected at the book signing was a time when the family bought her grandmother, Faye “Mema,”  a jogging suit and some tennis shoes. Maybe she wore the tennis shoes once, but she wore the outfit and high heels to the tanning salon. Somehow, it got stuck in the bed, and the staff had to get her out.

“I can’t believe we forgot that one, but there were so many stories,” said Janet.  

The Ross’s ran out of books, raised $4,000 for the foundation and ordered 100 more copies. Books will be available soon at Nan’s Flowers & Gifts in Adamsville. 

Proceeds benefit the Lisa Ross Parker Foundation. Named after Tommy and Janice’s daughter who passed away in 2001. The foundation provides support for families touched by blood-related cancer as well as animal welfare organizations. 

While Lisa was a  patient at Vanderbilt’s Myelosuppression/Stem Cell Transplant floor, she was next to a man who was alone in his cancer journey since his family could not afford to travel and be with him. Lisa knew that would be her mission to help others. After her loss the family started the Lisa Ross Parker Foundation in 2004, a 501(c)(3) and have raised $725,000. 

“We were able to purchase 36 Safepole I.V. poles, designed by a patient for every room on the unit and supply “survival packs” for families with pre-paid phone cards, pre-paid gas cards, discounted lodging, restaurant vouchers, books and magazines. We plan to have murals painted on the unit soon,” said Janet. In addition, we strive to honor Lisa’s legacy by assisting with charitable animal welfare and supporting other animal advocacy organizations that follow the same principles.

Books can be picked up at Nan’s Flowers in Adamsville. The books are free but a $20 contribution to the foundation is requested.

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