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Ross Cann

Obituary of Ross Sinclair Cann

Ross Sinclair Cann Sr, 84,died on March 13, 2020 at The Friendly Home in Rochester New York after a long battle with Leukemia. He was born in New York City February 6, 1936. During his life he was a sportsman, a sailor, a father and a friend to many. He graduated from Ridgewood High School in New Jersey and earned his undergraduate degree in Geology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he played Varsity Football, Ice Hockey and Lacrosse competing against Jim Brown, the pre-eminent player of the era. In college he was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He went on to complete his PhD at Columbia University in New York, where he studied the formation of sedimentary rock in the Gulf of Mexico and was among the very early users of computer technology back when a computer occupied the whole floor of a building on the Columbia campus. He married Laura Muriel Grumpelt whom he had known in high school, and together they had three sons, Ross Sinclair Cann Jr., Michael Townsend Cann and Stephen Crocket Cann. He worked first in the geology industry in Denver Colorado, and then in the management consultant field in Chicago Illinois, finally settling in Rochester New York where he worked for Xerox and Chase Bank as a Vice President of Finance. In addition to his long career in business, Ross was a devoted father, teaching his sons hockey on a backyard rink and lacrosse. In his youth he was an avid skier and later was the proud owner of a sailboat docked at Sodus Bay. On summer weekends the family would both day sail and take an annual cruise up to Canada or the Thousand Islands upon Lake Ontario, instilling in his sons a love and skill in sailing as well. He fondly remembered summer vacations to Lake Canandaigua, New York and to Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts where the family enjoyed tennis, sailing and swimming in idyllic settings with great family fun. Ross loved making things by hand and created elaborately detailed and intricate models of sailing ships. He also built dozens of pieces of fine furniture over the years in his fully outfitted basement shop. Ross was active in promoting the education of his sons who went on to earn undergraduate and advanced degrees at Yale, Cornell, Hamilton, Cambridge, Columbia and other universities and proudly attended all their many graduations. He was a longtime member of the Country Club of Rochester where he enjoyed golfing and was central to the revitalization of the Duplicate Bridge community there on weekends. He utilized his programming knowledge to create a computer program that could help test and teach bridge and many thousands of people benefitted from this development. Ross was always an avid reader and wrote hundreds of book reviews which were widely read and followed. In later years Ross had become a strong advocate for the fight against climate change, which as a scientist he saw as becoming an urgent problem that posed grave threats to the happiness and viability of future generations. He is survived by his sons, his grandchildren, his younger sisters Constance Sloan and Betsy Serban, their spouses and partners, his good friend and former wife Laura Grumpelt Cann and by many bridge and golf partners. He is predeceased by his mother Fairlie MacKay Cann and Henry Charles Vibret Cann. In accordance with Ross’s wishes a celebration of his life will be private. In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to make an honorary donation may make it to the RPI, Columbia University or to the Nature Conservancy. The family wishes to express a debt of gratitude to the staff of the Glenmere Assisted Living group for their care and comfort of Ross.
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