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Kenny Ross Passes

Published: December 4, 2017 10:57 am ET

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Kenny Ross, 90, a Pittsburgh area auto dealer who owned the world champion trotter Tom Ridge, passed away on Friday (December 1) after a brief illness.

Ross was running a small used car lot in Philadelphia in 1953 when he learned there was a Chevrolet dealership for sale on Pittsburgh’s north side. Just 26 at the time, he bought the dealership and moved across the state with his wife, Claire, and one-year-old son.

Ross became a prominent auto dealer in the Pittsburgh area. He expanded from the single dealership to 10 locations as the Kenny Ross Automotive Group, which now has more than 700 employees.

Kenny Ross Auto Dealerships became known for the character Aunt Penny, a white-haired woman who was not Ross' aunt, who appeared in advertisements saying, ‘You always get plenny from Kenny,’ and ‘Tell them Aunt Penny sent you.’

Ross, who in addition to running his dealerships, was a real estate developer, and co-founder of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Big Brothers Big Sisters charity.

In addition to owning Tom Ridge, who was named for the former Pennsylvania governor, who was a close friend, Ross trained and drove Standardbreds. Tom Ridge was trained by Jimmy Takter.

Ross is survived by two sons, Jim and Tony; a daughter, Joanne Simon; a sister, Flora Wenick of Philadelphia; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Visitation and funeral took place on Sunday (December 3) at the Ralph Schugar Chapel, 5509 Centre Ave., Shadyside, Pittsburgh, PA.

Memorial contributions may be made to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, 5989 Centre Ave., Suite 1, Pittsburgh PA 15206.

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends of Kenny Ross.


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