A tribute to Barbara Ross
By Paul Schoenkopf
Chiang Mai, Thailand
I knew Stu Ross from when I was about 12 years old and met Barbara in 1966.
I had an imported car parts business in Linden New Jersey. Jay Signore, a close friend of mine and founder of I.R.O.C. sent Stu and Barbara to my store for some parts for their Austin Healey 3000 Mk. II. Barbara Signore, Jay’s wife, worked counter with me. We hit it off right away and made arrangements to have dinner together that evening. I told them about my separation and Barbara said immediately that if I needed somebody to talk to or needed support, she was there. She quickly became my closest friend.
Barbara taught third grade in a school in Elizabeth, N.J. We would meet for lunch very often. There was even a rumor going around Barbara’s school that we were having an affair and Stu, Barbara and I used to laugh about it and naturally played it to the hilt. She was always very playful.
She started a program for people with learning disabilities and people suffering from autism as well as dyslexia. This program went over so well that she took a sabbatical and spent a semester in London, England teaching the British school system her program. Stu also took a sabbatical to be with Barbara and they stayed at a close friend of ours house. When she came back to Elizabeth they made her a consultant for special education in Union County, N.J. She loved the freedom of being a consultant and traveling from school to school but missed the classroom very much. She took a very large salary cut to go back to the classroom.
Barbara was the most sensitive, caring, perceptive person I ever met. She had a great sense of humor and sometimes we would be on the phone for over an hour laughing till our sides hurt. Stu, Barbara and I always had an interest in cars. We’ve all owned many “orphan” cars of very little popularity. In 1970 I moved to London to arrange for a major exporter of American car parts to start an importing business of parts. This subsequently turned into “BAP/GEON”, the largest full line independent importer of imported car parts. I spent a year in London then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1971