88 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 1 JANUARY 2021
The Honourable C. Ross Lander
On May 23, 2020, our friend and colleague C. Ross
Lander died after a bravely fought illness.
Ross was born in Vernon in 1932, the second of
two children. Although christened Cyril Ross, he
very soon dispensed with the Cyril part, preferring to
be known as Ross. His father, Art, was a pioneer in
the fruit industry. The family moved to Kelowna,
residing on Abbott Street near the Bennett and Capozzi families. Ross and
Bill Bennett were contemporaries, attending high school together.
From a very early age, Ross developed a wicked sense of humour that
remained active all his life. In Kelowna, he became somewhat of a celebrity
at the Regatta where, dressed in a clown suit, he performed a high-diving
stunt on a tricycle.
Ross was an accomplished athlete, particularly as a baseball player. He
attended Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. Upon graduation
he considered a career as a professional ball player, but in the end
he opted to obtain a law degree. He received that from UBC. On graduation
he articled to Mr. Waddell in Kelowna, then stayed on with the firm for several
years until he and Tom Finkelstein struck out on their own. The two
were not only business partners but also good friends, keeping in close
touch for the rest of Ross’s life. Ross handled most of the criminal prosecutions
for the City of Kelowna. He was eventually lured away by the Department
of Justice (“DOJ”), moving to Vancouver.
Ross worked under Norm Mullins, for whom he had great respect. Ross
travelled to Ottawa and other Canadian locales for the DOJ, gaining considerable
experience. He enjoyed his time with the DOJ immensely.
In 1982, Ross was asked if he was interested in accepting an appointment
to the County Court in Prince George. He was then married with three children,
but his wife was not interested in moving north, preferring the
warmth of California. They soon parted, and Ross travelled north with his
three children to commence a new life and new career. It was in Prince
George that he met the love of his life, Vienna. They enjoyed a long and
happy marriage, travelling, entertaining friends and buying art that
adorned their home. In his retirement, he unfortunately suffered many
serious health issues but was nursed with great care and energy by Vienna.
Without doubt, Vienna’s devotion long kept death at bay.