Ross Dana

Born on October 24, 1902 in Mesa, Arizona, when the Grand Canyon State was still a territory, Ilif Ross Dana was the son of Franklin J. and Florence A. Babbitt Dana. He graduated from Mesa Union High School in 1920 and attended the University of Missouri School of Journalism at Columbia, Missouri for the 1920-to-1921 term.
Ross Dana and Gladys Gibson were married in Phoenix, Arizona on August 27, 1921. They had three children, I. Ross, Jr., Catherine (later Mrs. Shaw) and Pat (later Mrs. Cooley). Gladys Dana died in 1972 and in 1975 Mr. Dana married Elizabeth Hales Hammel of Lucerne Valley.
While in Arizona during 1921 and 1922, Dana was the editor of the Herald in Snowflake, Arizona.
He thereafter moved to Glendora, where he was the editor and publisher of the Glendora Press until 1944. During those two decades he was active in civic affairs. He was a member of the Glendora Chamber of Commerce and was its president in 1932. He heavily involved with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving as the bishop of the Baldwin Park Ward and president of the Pasadena Stake.
He entered the engineering and highway construction business in 1946, forming what became Dana, Inc. at Big Bear Lake, where in 1947 and 1948 he was president of the Big Bear Lake Chamber of Commerce. In 1947 he expanded his business operation to Apple Valley to fulfill continuing contracts to grade and pave over 600 miles of streets in Apple Valley, Hesperia, Lucerne Valley and Victorville. He later set up residence in Apple Valley.
He was the president of the Apple Valley Kiwanis Club in 1955 and was the lieutenant governor of the Kiwanis International, Division 28, in 1957.
In 1958 the board of supervisors appointed Dana to the county flood control district’s Zone IV Advisory Committee. He served on that committee until December 1959.
In 1960 he was named “Outstanding Citizen of Apple Valley.”
That year he was elected to the board of supervisors in the First Supervisorial District, succeeding Magda Lawson of Needles, overseeing the entirety of the county’s desert expanse.
He participated in efforts that involved coordination between county, state and federal officials with regard to the improvement of recreational amenities along the Colorado River. He was an active participant in the county’s negotiations with the Knott family to lease land in the outer Barstow area for the operation of the Calico Ghost Town attraction.
In July 1963, Dana stepped into a bit of controversy when he did not immediately support a move, championed by his board colleagues Nancy Smith and Wesley Break, to enact specifically-worded restrictions on the placement of billboards along the county’s highways. Smith’s and Break’s proposal ran counter to the United Outdoor Advertising Company’s proposed amendment to the county’s billboard ordinance that would allow 1,000 feet on each side of a business on the freeway to host billboards, instead of the 500 feet that was then the county policy.
Dana won reelection in 1964, after which his board colleagues named a county park after him and designated him to serve as chairman of the board from 1964 to 1966.
During Dana’s term of office as First District supervisor, he utilized the 1911 Act in furthering the provision of infrastructure within his district. Other districts have since  benefited from the 1911 Act in the improvement of roads, sewers, flood control facilities, water systems, etc.  He strongly supported various flood control improvements such as the 29 Palms Flood Channel, Mojave River Control, the Oro Grande Channel and others.
Dana was active as a member of the County Supervisors Association of California, vice chairman of the Lower Colorado River Land Use Advisory Committee from 1961 to 1964 and a member of the Local Agency Formation Commission.
He retired from the board in 1968, being succeeded by William A. Betterley.
Following his retirement from the board of supervisors, Dana returned to his general engineering contracting company, Dana, Inc., of which he was founder and president, and resumed a more prominent role in the business. He retired from participation in the company’s operations in 1970, leaving it in the hands of his son and son-in-law, to enjoy the more leisurely life of fishing, golf and travel.
Ross Dana died in Victorville on April 15, 1988 and was survived by his wife, Elizabeth, daughters Catherine Shaw and Pat Cooley, a sister, Norma Ramirez, six grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. His son, I. Ross Jr. predeceased him in October 1985.

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