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Ross Woodall

Thursday, April 25, 2024
Ross Woodall
Ross Woodall

F. Ross Woodall Birth: March 7, 1953 Death: December 1, 2023, F. Ross Woodall, 70, passed away on Dec. 1, 2023, at his residence in Palm Springs, California, following a 37-year battle with HIV that resulted in a series of health issues, ultimately leading to fatal cardiovascular failure.

Ross was born on March 7, 1953, in Fort Worth and was adopted by Geraldine Campbell Woodall and Oscar Louis Woodall.

From a young age, Ross had an undying passion for music. Ross was a classically trained musician, having studied from the age of 5. He attended Baylor University, where he majored in music education and was an organist, choirmaster and choral director of congregations in Hamilton, Fort Worth, Hurst, Arlington and Austin.

As his vocation, Ross distinguished himself as Vice President of sales of two large corporate travel management companies, World Business Travel in Dallas and Capitol of Texas Travel in Austin. While in these positions, Ross served as a guest columnist for the Dallas Business Journal and was named to “Who’s Who in Sales and Marketing” and “Who’s Who among U.S. Executives.” Ross attained these accomplishments after being told by his doctor that he was HIV positive and that he had but six months to live.

As a Texan by birth, but Californian by choice, Ross felt the need to move to the west coast and proudly call San Francisco home. In 1992 he accepted a position with another large travel management company, In Transit Travel, as Director of Operations in San Francisco. In 1994, Ross was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS, forcing him to stop and get his personal affairs in order.

After one month of retirement, and still fighting AIDS, Ross began volunteering at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Some of Ross’ activities at SFAF included editing and proofreading the distinguished AIDS journal, BETA, and coordinating more than 500 volunteers for a classical music AIDS fundraiser event. In 1994 Ross guided, counseled and consoled callers on the California AIDS hotline.

Ross was a frequent presenter for SFAF’s Speakers Bureau and served on the Board of Directors for SFAF from 1999 through 2004. While at SFAF, he was nominated for a national Points of Light award for his volunteer efforts.

Because of AIDS complication (CMV Retinitis), Ross became legally blind in 1996. Not even this slowed down his passion for living life, especially with his desire to give courage to those living with AIDS and their caregivers.

By 2000, Ross’ health had improved enough to attempt full-time employment, where he became the volunteer coordinator for the AIDS Legal Referral Panel. But his return to work was cut short when one of his life-saving HIV medications caused an allergic reaction that nearly ended his life once again.

Recovering from this serious incident along with a broken leg in 2001 slowed his return to a more normal life.

Ross was honored as a featured presenter at AIDS Walk San Francisco, inspiring over 20,000 participants in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

In 2003, Ross returned to his beloved musical roots, being accepted as a member of the renown San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, the world’s first openly gay men’s chorus. In 1994, he was elected to the Board of Directors of SFGMC’s parent, Golden Gate performing Arts, Inc.

In 2004, he was asked to join the City & County of San Francisco’s human rights, commission employment advisory committee. In 2005, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses, Inc. Board of Directors, representing more than 200 LGBT choruses with more than 10,000 individual members in the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany and Australia.

In 2007, Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, appointed Ross to the Mayor’s Disability Council for the City & County of San Francisco, where he served as co-chair.

In 2015, Ross’ health took a downward spiral. He needed a liver transplant. After many unsuccessful attempts to recruit a living donor, Ross turned to his chosen, logical family, the chorus. He shared the fact that he most surely would die without a transplant. Quite a few members tested, but none were a match. A new member, Dave Andrade, who joined the chorus when Ross made a second appeal, tested and was a perfect match.

On January 27, 2016, Dave gave Ross part of his liver. They became what we call a bonded pair from that moment on – laughing, loving and singing together. It was selfless love on both sides.

Ross was the son of the late Geraldine Campbell Woodall and Oscar Louis Woodall and is survived by life-partner Danny Moreno, cousins Nan Campbell and Lisa Campbell Rosas, niece Leanne Dyer Jackson Tucker and nephew Scotty Dyer. S ince 1990, Ross shared his private life with his loving and steadfast spouse, Danny Moreno, who was always by his side for 32 years, through the best and worst of times. In 1995, Ross and Danny were united in a commitment ceremony witnessed by many friends and loved ones at the first Unitarian Universalist Church, San Francisco. In 2021, Ross was happy to move and live his final years in Palm Springs.

Ross was perhaps most well-known among his friends for his acerbic wit and his ability to bounce back with a positive disposition from the many medical setbacks he experienced as a long-term HIV/AIDS patient.

A celebration of life for Ross will be held at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on Saturday, April 27, 3-7 p.m., where his ashes will be scattered at his request.

Funeral arrangements are being organized by Dave Andrade and Danny Moreno.

In lieu of floral items, Ross has requested memorials to be in the form of donations to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (, and the National AIDS Memorial Grove ( www.AIDSmemorial. org).

Ross will also be commemorated with a collaborative panel in the National AIDS Memorial Quilt; friends and loved ones are encouraged to contribute their messages and memories.

“Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”

- George Bernard Shaw