Born in 1920, Ross's talent was recognized early. Drawing in elementary school was followed by an introduction to painting in high school. He graduated from the Tyler School of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, in 1944 and moved to New York City. He considered this to be his first year of professional status. In 1950 Ross moved to Florence and attended the Accademia di Belle Arti, where he worked on pictures involving human drama.
Ross taught at Pratt Institute and the New School for Social Research and the New York School of Interior Design, but spent much of his time in Provincetown. He was president of the Art Association and Museum in the early '70s. In 1974 Ross found that he had cancer for which he underwent major surgery. He had to relinquish the presidency of the Provincetown Art Association and to give up his beloved teaching jobs. He died at age 55, leaving a small but exceptional body of work that, if continued, would likely have earned him a more prominent place in late-20th-century art history.