July 9, 2020
Margaret Zola Ross (known as Zola), lifelong St. John resident, passed away Saturday, July 4th, 2020, at age 107. A graveside service will be Saturday, July 11th at 10 a.m., at St. John Cemetery followed by a memorial service at Christian Life Assembly in St. John at 11 a.m.
Zola, the youngest of three daughters, was born to J.B. (James) and Stella Freeman on her family's wheat farm near St. John on November 3, 1912. She went to first grade at Lower Downing School. To get to school, she and her sisters would ride in a two-wheeled cart pulled by Old Jack, the pony. Old Jack only had one speed, and it was fast. She attended Little Valley School for the next few years. After the family moved closer to town, she went to St. John School, completing the tenth grade, walking three miles each way.
On May 26, 1930, wearing her best blue dress, Zola married Thomas E. Ross, a harvest worker. Making their home in St. John, the Rosses started their family with the arrival of son, Gene, on October 29, 1932, just five days before Zola's 20th birthday. During the Depression, Tom found work any way he could, hauling goods then bartering with them, as well as selling firewood and wooden posts in the Potlatch area. In 1939, Tom began working as an electrician, eventually running his own business. In 1944, their family grew with the addition of daughter, Marianne, born on March 29.
In 1948, Tom and Zola came to know Christ as their personal Savior. After their conversion, Tom, Zola and their family faithfully attended Christian Life Assembly, where she was a member for 72 years. Zola taught Sunday School, was a church soloist, played the violin and participated in ladies' Bible study and prayer time. Zola's prayers were effective, eventually leading to her renown as the family prayer warrior. She kept busy as a wife, homemaker, mother and also worked in the school lunch program. She enjoyed baking bread, making her own soap, embroidering and quilting. At 4'11", Zola was small, but tough. Not only did she cook for the harvesters, she knew how to drive a truck in the field too. She cherished her extended family. Following Tom's death in 1985, she was a caregiver for a friend.
In 1990, Gene became the minister at Christian Life Assembly, where Zola was still a proud member. She was honored in 2019 to pray via video for the opening of the Northwest Ministry Conference of the Assemblies of God where her grandson Don is the Network Leader. She is survived by her son, Gene, and his wife, Lori, of Lynnwood, Wash .; five grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; 10 great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her husband, Zola was preceded in death by a daughter, Susan Marianne, and her sisters, Bertha Henderson and Belle Stelzer. The family suggests memorial gifts be made to Christian Life Assembly, St. John. On-line guest book is at http://www.bruningfuneralhome.com The family wishes to extend their thanks to the staff at Community Pride for their loving care of Zola, one of their first residents.
Bruning Funeral Home of Colfax is in charge of the arrangements.