By Mike Wolbers

Dave Ross was that little kid at the back of classroom who had hard time paying attention because he was too busy drawing illustrations.

Ross, who has been a Building Service Worker at Buzzard Hall for about 10 years, has always had a knack for art.

“You know my teachers never encouraged my creative side,” said Ross. “They always thought I was just slacking off.”

Ross said that Linda Sherwood, an instructor in the early childhood program, had him speak with her students.

“I told her students that you need to embrace the children like me who sat in the back of the class and are artistic,” said Ross. “You need to encourage those students to be creative.”

In addition to having Ross speak to her students, Sherwood was also able to recognize Ross’ talents.

After seeing some of the art in Ross’ office, Sherwood connected Ross with her daughter and he illustrated the children’s book she was authoring.

Before coming to EIU, Ross had done mostly factory work and worked for a semi-truck trailer manufacturer.

Ross was also a semi-truck driver and would often go on trips with his wife cross country.

Having been originally from around Sullivan, ILL., Ross has seen almost all of the United States.

“If I had to pick a region that is my favorite I would have to say it is the west,” said Ross. “if I had to pick a state I would say Arizona.”

In 2004, Ross came to EIU and Buzzard Hall.

“When I came to Eastern, a lot of people did not want to work at Buzzard because it was so big,” said Ross. “If you are looking for a job without a lot of downtime, this is not it. There are always windows to be cleaned, dust in places you would not have even guessed.”

While Ross believes it is a tough job, there are a lot of things he will miss about the job.

“I will miss the comradery  with my co-workers, the students and staff,” said Ross. “I will miss the everyday interactions with all of those people for sure.”

As for his retirement, Ross says that he plans to stay in Mattoon.

“After I retire I will continue to do art, painting signs and stock cars,” said Ross.

In addition to art, you can find Ross fishing in farm ponds around the area and deer hunting in the woods near Lake Shelbyville.

“You know I have been contributing to the retirement fund since the 1960s,” said Ross. “I figure I deserve to enjoy it.”