Arlington Remembers Service of Former City Manager Ross Calhoun Sr.
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communication
Posted on December 01, 2020, December 01, 2020

Former City Manager Ross Blake Calhoun Sr.

The City of Arlington pauses to reflect on the service and accomplishments of former City Manager Ross Blake Calhoun Sr.

Mr. Calhoun, who served as Arlington city manager from March 1973 to May 1984, died Nov. 3, 2020. He was 79.

After graduating from Texas A&M University, Mr. Calhoun began his career with the City of Arlington. During his more than 20-year career here, he served as director of city planning before ultimately being named city manager at the age of 32. Arlington was experiencing a rapid growth in population at that time, rising from about 45,000 residents in 1960 to more than 160,000 in 1980.

“Ross had a talent for managing a city that was growing rapidly and meeting the challenges that growth presented. He set a standard for others to emulate,” said friend and former Arlington Mayor Richard Greene, who served on the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission during Mr. Calhoun’s time as city manager.

Mr. Calhoun, along with his longtime friend and then Mayor Tom Vandergriff, were instrumental in attracting the Texas Rangers to Arlington, along with the amusement park Seven Seas, and many other private industries and small businesses. Family members said some of Mr. Calhoun’s favorite memories included supervising the newly opened Texas Ranger Baseball Stadium and its operations, along with the Ranger radio and television network.

George Campbell, who served as Arlington assistant city manager with Mr. Calhoun, described his friend and mentor as ‘one of the great city managers in Texas.” Campbell pointed to Mr. Calhoun’s leadership in guiding the city through its rapid development, especially to the south.

“He was the city manager here when Arlington was going through the very busiest part of its development,” Campbell said. “He has the privilege of being a key part of the City of Arlington’s history, working with some of the great folks like Tom Vandergriff, SJ Stovall and Harold Patterson.”

After retiring from the city in 1984, Mr. Calhoun went to work in the private sector doing land development. His accomplishments in that capacity include being named Builder Of The Year, being elected to the Builder Hall of Fame, and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Fort Worth Builders Association.

Mr. Calhoun was also elected to represent Tarrant County and City of Arlington to the Board of Directors of the Appraisal District. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors of the Texas Heart Association, and received a certificate of recognition for 20 years of service to acknowledge his significant contributions and achievements in the advancement of local government administration from ICMA (International City/County Management Association).

Click here to read the obituary for Ross Blake Calhoun.

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