Sidney T. Ross, founder of the Ross-Simons jewelry and tabletop stores and catalogs, died Sept. 21 at Rhode Island Hospital. He was 88.
Ross was born in Lynn, MA, and graduated from Lynn Classical High School. He was accepted into Tufts University, but could not afford to attend because his father worked in a shoe factory. Instead, he put himself through the night program at Northeastern College of Law.
He soon discovered it was easier making a living in retailing than in law, and he opened the first Ross-Simons store in 1952 with the mission to provide quality products at value prices. Today, that business includes 14 stores in nine states and a catalog division with an annual circulation of 50 million.
Ross remained active in all aspects of the business until retiring at age 82 after having open-heart surgery. He was a resident of Cranston, RI, where Ross-Simons is based, since 1950.
Ross is survived by his wife of 63 years, Lillian, and two sons, Darrell S. Ross, who is the company's president, and Mark A. Ross, who has retired from the family business.