Father Daniel Gerald Ross, SJ, a highly respected sociologist and teacher in Taiwan, entered into God's peace July 22 at the Cardinal Tien Hospital, Taipei. He was 83 and had been in the Society of Jesus just shy of 64 years, 51 as a priest. Formerly of the California Province, he was a member of the China Province.
Father Ross was born in Oconomowoc, Wisc., October 5, 1933. His family moved to Burbank, Calif., in 1942, where he attended public schools before attending Loyola University for two years as a political science major. He entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Los Gatos in 1953. His training took him to Spokane for philosophy studies, 1957-60, where he completed his MA in sociology.
For many years, Fr. Ross volunteered for the Missions, whether to China, Japan, or any other mission. In 1960, his prayers were answered and he was assigned to what was then called the Far East Province for work in Taiwan (at that time often referred to as Formosa). Chinese language studies completed, Fr. Ross taught English at the Jesuit school in Changhua for a year before studying theology in Baguio City, the Philippines. He was ordained a priest in Hsinchu, Taiwan, May 1, 1966.
Father Ross returned to the United States and earned a doctorate in sociology at the University of Notre Dame in 1972. Back in Taiwan, he taught at Fu Jen University, chaired the sociology department for more than 20 years, and published many books and articles. He was a pioneer in social work education in Taiwan and is credited with improving the social welfare system there. He also instituted a series of seminars in support of Catholic universities throughout Asia.
Several of Fr. Ross's students have made major contributions to the public life of the country. Shortly before Fr. Ross's death, the mayor of Taipei presented him with honorary citizenship papers. A steady stream of colleagues and former students came to bid farewell and more than 400 people attended his funeral Mass at Fu Jen University.
Donations in memory of Fr. Ross may be made to Jesuits West, P.O. Box 68, Los Gatos, CA 95031, or through the Province's secure donation site at www.jesuitswest.org/donations online.