WALTER E. ROSS III
Walter Eley Ross, III was a boat owner and captain who called Biloxi home. Born on January 21, 1969, Walter was the son of Walter “Junie” Ross and Sonya Ross. Along with his younger brother, Christopher Mark Ross, Walter built and worked on several vessels throughout his lifetime. Walter began working on the boats from an early age, he was not even tall enough to see over the wheel of his grandfather’s boat the Junie-Doffie. Despite his youth and stature, he assisted his father and grandfather by holding the wheel of the boat while they picked their catch. To compensate for his height, his grandfather developed a way of signaling to Walter, holding up one finger on his right hand to turn the wheel one spoke right and two fingers on his left hand to turn the wheel two spokes left. To this end, Walter had to stand on a milk crate to turn the wheel.
As an older child, he and his brother assisted their father by working aboard his converted pleasure boat, Me and My Boys, helping him catch shrimp. At the age of 10, Walter and Christopher both helped their father complete his signature vessel the Lady Sonya. Walter assisted by taking measurements, cutting and nailing planks, and drilling plugs for nail holes. As a young adult, he worked with his brother on their skiff the Love Boat to help make some additional money. Walter continued to work in the maritime industry after the untimely death of his father.
Among his various jobs, Walter worked for seafood processor, Ziggy Guiterrez, unloading shrimp during summers off from high school. One Christmas season, Walter got his first chance to captain a working vessel, the Snowdrift, oystering during the winter months. He also worked for the Biloxi Freezing Company packing shrimp into fifty-pound boxes. Upon graduating from high school, Walter continued performing many of these jobs and building his experience. He took a job with R.A. Fayard, unloading boats and supplying ice and fuel. He was then given the chance to learn how to set graders to sort the clean, peeled shrimp to proper sizes. This led to another opportunity to work for seafood processor, Doty Fournier, running grading machines. All of these experiences were rewarded in 1995 when Walter attained a job in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. He served as a marine law enforcement officer, a position he held for four years with great success. He was awarded the honor of Boat and Water Safety Officer of the Year in 1998.
In February of 2005, Walter’s brother Christopher passed away at the age of 26. Walter, inspired by his brother’s life and achievements, decided to nominate Christopher for this Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, Walter Eley Ross III passed away on May 20, 2015. His mother Sonya, then nominated both of her sons for inclusion. Walter Eley Ross, III is remembered as an example of the younger generation of a prominent seafood family whose heart’s desire was to carry on the legacy he’d been born in to. The skills and talents he acquired over the years live on through his many accomplishments and in the hearts of his family and friends who so fondly remember him