During the month of February, we honor the vital role African-Americans have played in our country’s history. In celebration of their achievements, Cambridge Athletics is proud to recognize Ross Paige Barrett.
Ross Paige Barrett was born May 25, 1922 at Cambridge, Ohio.
In high school, he was a conscientious student-athlete and a very popular member of his class. He developed particular skills in the area of industrial arts. He also earned recognition as a Pittsburgh Courier High School Football All-American.
When he graduated from high school in 1940, his achievements earned him a scholarship to study and play football at Wilberforce University. In addition to the fine academics there, WU’s “Bulldogs” were then one of the most feared black college football teams in the nation.
The Second World War interrupted his college career. He was a member of the Army ROTC program at Wilberforce. The cadet corps was activated in 1943. He endured hazardous combat in Italy with the 371st Regiment of 24th Infantry Division. His decorations included the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal and Mediterranean Theater of Operations Ribbons with two battle participation stars. He also completed Army Officer Training before war’s end. After the war, he decided to complete an Army career and again endured hazardous duty with the 24th Regiment of the renowned 25th Infantry “Tropic Lightning” Division during the Korean Conflict.
After finishing his Army career in 1963, he returned to his educational pursuits. He earned bachelor’s degree from Central State University, an institution that had originally been a state-sponsored component of Wilberforce University. He completed master’s degree studies at Kent State University. He was an instructor in industrial arts, and became the first black assistant principal at South High School. After retiring from this position in 1982, he continued to serve the “Wildcats” as a member of the part-time faculty.
He served the Springfield community in many voluntary capacities, and was one of the most popular football and basketball officials in southwestern Ohio. He was a licensed pilot who was serving the Ohio Civil Air Patrol at the time of his physical death on January 3, 1985. He was married to the late Allyson Lightfoot Warrick, formerly of Wilberforce. They are now interred together with many of our nation’s greatest heroes at Arlington National Cemetery. Their children are Rosalyn Patricia DeWitt of Dayton, Ohio, an accountant, and Dr. Warrick Lee Barrett, a physician who resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In his honor, the faculty and staff of South High School annually awards the Ross P. Barrett Memorial scholarship to a senior student who personifies his ideals. The Springfield Cadet Squadron 702 of the Ohio Civil Air Patrol has also named itself in his honor.
-Courtesy of Arlington National Cemetary website and Dr. Warrick Lee Barrett