Ross Beach, business leader and philanthropist, is a life-long Kansan. His basic career in oil and gas production, he is President of Kansas Natural Gas, Inc., and is also actively engaged in banking and ranching. He was formerly active also in the radio, television, and cable industry. He is a registered professional engineer.
Beach was born February 22, 1918, in Abilene, Kansas, to Roy and Mary (Lankow) Beach. When 17 days old, his mother died, and he was raised by his uncle and aunt, Ross (for whom he had been named at birth) and Mattie (Lowe) Beach. An older brother, Roy, no deceased, remained with his widowed father. They moved in 1924 from their first home in Solomon, Kansas, where Mr. Beach had installed the first power plant, to Hays after United Utilities of Abilene purchased the Solomon plant and asked Mr. Beach to become manager of their company in Hays. Young Ross attended the Hays public schools and Kansas State University, from which he graduated in 1940.
June 1, 1941, Ross married Marianna Kistler of Manhattan and formerly of Lincoln, Kansas. They are the parents of three daughters, Mary (Mrs. Gary) McDowell of Port Townsend, Washington, Terry (Mrs. R.A.) Edwards of Hutchinson, and Jane (Mrs. Steve) Hipp of Wichita. They have eight grandchildren.
Ross served in naval aviation during World War II. He continued to utilize flying in his business and flew for nearly 50 years, logging more than a million miles in the air and receiving numerous citations for his record of flight safety.
Beach is past president of the Kansas State Chamber of Commerce and past chairman of the Kansas Fish and Game Commission. He was a member of the board of directors of the First National Bank of Kansas City, Dillon Stores, Inc., Woods Petroleum, Inc., American Home Life Insurance Co, and the National Business Aircraft Assn. He is past chairman of the Kansas 4-H Foundation, the Kansas State Fair, and the Kansas Business Hall of Fame. He has served on the advisory boards to the business schools of the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Fort Hays State University. He holds a Distinguished Service Citation from the University of Kansas, the President's Award from Kansas State University, and a Distinguished Service Citation (with his wife) from Fort Hays State University.
Beach is an avid hunter and traveler, having hunted in India, Kenya, Mozambique, British Columbia, and Kodiak Island, as well as in the United States.
He is a member of the First Presbyterian Church, the Masons and Shrine, and of Quiet Birdmen. He is a senior active member of Rotary and a Paul Harris Fellow. His fraternity is Beta Theta Pi.