Ross Stanley Yearout was born to Chris and Margaret Yearout on September 27, 1943. He spent a good deal of his younger days outdoors in Tensed, Idaho, where many of his happiest memories involved riding horses, hunting deer and elk, and spending time at John’s Creek.
After relocating to Spokane, Ross attended Willard Elementary through 8th grade and then Shadle Park High School, where he graduated as a member of the first four-year Highlander class in 1961. Ross attended Eastern Washington Teachers College (EWU) and majored in education and history, but after finding out teaching wasn’t for him, he worked at Kaiser Mead and later spent 25 years as a systems analyst for IBM.
While cruising around in his ’57 Chevy, he fell in love with a carhop at Eddie’s SnoCap Drive-In named Carol Jean Schaefer. Ross and Carol married on August 21, 1965, and during their 55-year marriage, they built their own home in northwest Spokane and raised three children together. Ross was proud of his kids and the different paths each of them took, and he worked two jobs for many years so they could always have everything they needed.
In addition to his career, Ross was a key figure in the development of the Spokane Softball Association during the 1970s, and he played a major role in Spokane becoming a signature city for both adult and youth softball leagues. He was also a longtime softball participant and manager, and his 1978 B & E Trophy team finished 4th in the national modified tournament. Ross later went on to coach youth softball and spent hours helping younger players perfect the game, and his many accomplishments led him to be inducted into the Inland Empire Softball Hall of Fame in 2018.
Beyond playing and coaching softball, Ross enjoyed watching many other sports teams, including the Seattle Mariners and Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball, and he could talk at length about the players past and present. He could also offer opinions on local and national politics and was not afraid to fire off a letter to the Spokesman Review or Spokane Daily Chronicle on a litany of local, state, and national topics.
Ross was also a big horse racing fan and worked at Playfair Race Course for over 30 years – first as a ticket cashier and mutual manager, and eventually serving as General Manager of the track prior to its closing. Ross loved the backside of Playfair and began breeding his own horses to race, which kept him busy and happy at the same time. He was often up before dawn and saddling up or feeding one of his horses, and he spent hundreds of hours taking care of them.
Ross’s love for animals (especially dogs and cats) was only matched by his wife, Carol, and they had many pets throughout their long marriage. He was also passionate about classic rock music and attended numerous concerts including the Eagles, Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, George Thorogood, and many others. He loved ice cream in a huge soup bowl, all kinds of cookies, and Diet Mountain Dew, and any chance they got, he and Carol took the grandkids out to buffets, IHOP, Ferguson’s, Zip’s, or The Chalet. The second half of his life was devoted to his grandkids and spending as much time as he could supporting and loving them.
Ross passed away October 1, 2021, peacefully in his sleep. Ross was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Carol Yearout, and his sister Carol Horner. He is survived by his brother Forrest Yearout and his three children, Tom Yearout (Julie), Patrick Yearout, and Julie Kautzman (Paul) as well as his six grandchildren (Laurie, David, Thomas, Erin, Conner, Avery) and two great grandchildren (Hayden, Bailey).
A small, private family service will be planned for late October, where Ross will be laid to rest next to his wife, Carol. In lieu of gifts, the family hopes people will contribute to Retired Racehorse Project at www.retiredracehorseproject.org