Saturday, March 18, 2023

Happy Little Accident: The Grave of Bob Ross


"We don't make mistakes.  We just have happy little accidents."

Robert Norman Ross, aka Bob Ross, was born in Daytona Beach, Florida, on October 29, 1942.  He dropped out of high school and went to work for his father as a carpenter.  Later, when he tuned 18, he enlisted in the Air Force and served as a medical records technician, eventually rising to the rank of master sergeant.  It was during his service that he first visited Alaska, who's beauty would inspire his paintings to come.

While still in the service, Bob took his first art class, but found the style to be limiting.  "They'd tell you what makes a tree, but they wouldn't tell you how to paint a tree," he later recalled.  While working as a bartender, he discovered a TV program called The Magic of Oil Painting, from which his talent would eventually grow.

After the service, Bob returned to Florida and began working as a traveling salesman and art tutor.  Looking to promote his new business, he decided to create a TV series of his own.  The Joy of Painting first premiered on PBS in 1983 and would run for the next 11 years.  His idea had paid off, eventually earning him more than $15 million.

Bob had begun smoking at an early age, and by 1995, it had finally caught up with him.  He died of lymphoma on July 4th.  He was just 52 years old.

Bob Ross was laid to rest at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Gotha, Florida.  It is the most decorated grave that this blogger has ever seen.

Rest in peace, Bob.

  • To date, there's no official biography on Bob available, but there is a junior edition for kids.  Pick up a copy of Bob Ross: A Little Golden Book Biography from Amazon.

  • Vlogger Jordan the Lion recently visited Bob's grave and posted this video to YouTube.

  • Bob was never paid for his show.  Instead, he used it as a way to promote his teaching practice.

  • A not-so-happy carpentry accident sustained as a child took the top joint of Bob's left index finger.  It never impacted his ability hold a palette.

  • While just beginning as an art tutor, Bob saved money wherever he could.  One step was to have his hair permed so as to avoid weekly haircuts.  Although he grew to dislike it, it had become so synonymous with his image that he kept it for career purposes.  That too, was a happy little accident.

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