Ross Albert Muñoz

Date of Birth

April 8, 1938

Date of Death

January 15, 2023

Rosario Albert Muñoz (Ross) was born in Santa Barbara on April 8, 1938 at St. Francis Hospital to Manuel and Irene (León) Muñoz. Beloved husband, father, grandfather peacefully took the hand of the Lord after an extended illness on Sunday, January 15th at his home. The eldest of twelve children, he attended Lincoln Elementary, Santa Barbara Junior High (class of ’53), and “The High School”—Santa Barbara High School (class of ‘56). An excellent athlete, he joined teams at the Downtown Boy’s Club in baseball, football, and his favorite, track and field. He continued his loyalty and love for his alma mater for the remainder of his life attending sons’, daughters’, and grandkids’ various sporting events wearing olive and gold and adhering to the motto: Once a Don, Always a Don.

After High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army fulfilling his service obligation in 1959. Upon returning to Santa Barbara, Ross met Paula Carolina Berber (Pauline) and the couple married on June 11, 1960 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. The births of six children followed throughout the 1960s to 1973.

Ross used his service training in drafting to establish a career for himself as a civil draftsman beginning in 1962. His career spanned 40 years and brought him lifelong friendships.

He coached his sons and daughters and their friends on multiple occasions on various baseball and softball teams. He headed so many teams of youth ball players, he simply became known as “Coach.”

Ross was a man with fortitude and will, a sense of responsibility, and a devotion to God, who had civic pride and a yearning to connect people at a grassroots community level. He took steps, beginning in late 1960s and well into 1980s to immerse himself in education, training, and Catholic Christian fellowship. He enrolled at Santa Barbara City College taking courses in English, History, and Chicano Studies. Inspired by the cultural renaissance, and the youth, he joined El Concilio de La Raza and was an early contributor to El Plan de Santa Barbara – a call for recognition and attention to the Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano community in education and political representation. He always held that this community was the backbone of this city, contributing in all ways to its culture and beauty. Together with his beloved Pauline, they served Holy Cross Catholic Church on La Mesa as catechists preparing high school students for the Sacrament of Confirmation. As a couple, Ross and Pauline strived to improve and honor their wedding vows through participating in Cursillo and Marriage Encounter, and delivering workshops to young unwed couples at faith formation retreats such as Engaged Encounter and Search. In addition, Ross was as extraordinary minister delivering the blessed Eucharist to shut-in parishioners while also serving at Sunday mass. Perhaps his greatest contribution during this era was to join, and later lead the Detention Ministry Program – a weekly visitation service for the incarcerated of Santa Barbara County Jail. These commitments strengthened his relationships with God, family, and friends.

Ross was preceded in death by his parents, Manuel and Irene, and his brothers, Ricky and Tony Muñoz. In addition to his adored wife of 62 years, Pauline, he is survived by his children, Raul (Annette), Sofia Mendoza (Michael), Kristina Wietstock (Mark), Angela (Anne), Florentino (Barbara), and Gilbert (Juana). He was a loving grandfather to 18 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. His surviving brothers and sisters include; Daniel, Norma (Johnny), Irene, Elena (Gary), Martha, Manuel, Arthur (Lupe), Edward (Terry), and David (Angie).

The Muñoz family extends its deepest gratitude and appreciation to VNA Health for its tremendous efforts in attending to our father and husband during the last several weeks of his hospice care. We would especially like to note staff members Carmen, Karen, Denise, Shandy, Amada, Alex, and Premi. The tenderness you showed him will not be forgotten.

A rosary prayer service for Ross Albert Muñoz will be Friday, February 3rd, 7pm at Welch-Ryce-Haider Chapel (15 E. Sola St). His funeral mass will be Saturday, February 4th, 10am at Holy Cross Catholic Church (1740 Cliff Dr.) with burial following at Calvary Cemetery (199 N. Hope Ave). In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to VNA Health on behalf of Ross A. Muñoz.


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