Mr. Ross founded Alpha Chemical & Plastics, in Newark, N.J.; and Mercer Plastics Company, in Umatilla, Fla. He sold both companies in the 1980s.
Mr. Ross, who was 91 when he died in 2010, left nearly $76.5-million to 17 nonprofits, most of which he had long supported during his lifetime. He bequeathed more than $18.1-million to American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev for scholarships and other student support. Mr. Ross and his late wife, Lore, had previously given the university a total of $4.9-million.
Mr. Ross never attended college, so when the university gave him an honorary doctorate in 2010, he said in his acceptance speech, “What does this honorary doctorate mean to me? Well, considering that I was forced out of school in 1933 at the age of 14 and have now received the university’s highest honor, I have not yet digested it.”
Along with those large bequests, Mr. Ross left a series of smaller donations in his will. He gave more than $1.7-million to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, in Newark, nearly $1.3-million to the Rutgers Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Life, in New Brunswick, N.J.; $1-million to St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, in Newark, N.J.; $500,000 to Temple B’nai Abraham, in Livingston, N.J.; and $300,000 to United Jewish Community of Metrowest, in Whippany, N.J.
Other bequests include $250,000 each to Boys Town Jerusalem Foundation of America, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, New Jersey YMHA-YWHA Camps, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Mr. Ross left $100,000 apiece to Congregation Ahavas Sholom and St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, both in Newark, $30,000 to Beth Israel Congregation, in Florence, S.C.; and $25,000 to Drew University, in Madison, N.J.