Weather Forecast


Ross Thomas Watland

Ross Thomas Watland

Ross T. Watland, 70, of Grand Forks, ND passed away on Friday, November 30, 2018 at his residence in 4000 Valley Square-Woodside Village in Grand Forks.

Ross Thomas Watland was born on November 2, 1948 the son of Thomas and Evelyn (Rintoul) Watland in Bottineau, ND. His birth was on the same day as Harry Truman was elected President and the only time Ross's parents missed voting. After testing RH positive at birth, Ross was baptized at the Bottineau Hospital. His baptism was later publicly recognized and affirmed in a service of worship at Bethel Lutheran Church, rural Antler, ND. Ross was confirmed in the faith at Zion Lutheran Church, Mohall, ND.

Ross was educated in the Mohall Public School system, where he graduated in 1966 as the class valedictorian. He then attended North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND where he was a 1970 graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Following his graduation from NDSU, Ross moved to Washington State where he worked for the Navel Torpedo Station and was also a member of the Washington Army National Guard. While in Washington, he also pursued and received a Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington.

Ross returned to North Dakota and in 1977 started law school at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. At that time he joined Calvary Lutheran Church where he sang tenor in the church choir and also served a term on the Church Council.

On June 16, 1979, Ross married Diana Marie (Wynne) Hottell. They were married for nearly 34 years and she said Ross was "the love of my life". He graduated from the University Of North Dakota School Of Law in May of 1980 and ranked seventh in a class of 75. Ross passed the bar exam in July and moved to Naperville, IL to start work at AT&T Bell Labs as a patent attorney. While in Naperville, he was a member or Our Savor's Lutheran Church and sang in the choir there for 15 years. He also sang in the Naperville Community Chorus.

Ross passed the United States Patent Office Bar Exam in 1981 and was admitted to the Patent Office for practice. He was later admitted to the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. While working at AT&T Bell Labs, he received a Master's Degree in Intellectual Property Law from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL in 1991.

Ross was recognized and honored by AT&T for exemplary work he did as a patent attorney. This included two and one half years of heading a very important litigation matter. The matter was successfully resolved in AT&T's favor, but in 1994 Ross suffered a nervous breakdown near its completion. He accepted a generous disability pension and moved to Grand Forks. He once again joined Calvary Lutheran Church and sang one more year in the Calvary choir. Ross moved to Tufte Manor in 2006, Valley Eldercare in 2010 and Woodside Village in 2012.

Ross loved a wide range of musical styles, including old country, bluegrass, blues, jazz, 50's & 60's rock and roll, classical and religious. He attended approximately 150 concerts in his lifetime. He enjoyed them all, but said the three best were Cher, The Highwaymen featuring Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Diana Ross, in that order. He enjoyed watching sports, especially the Twins, the White Sox, the Vikings, the Bears, the Bulls, the Celtics and above all, UND's Fighting Sioux Hockey team. Ross traveled extensively throughout the United States with his two favorite destinations being Hawaii and Alaska. In later years, he enjoyed playing cards and bingo and visiting with a wide network of extended family and friends.

Ross is survived by his former wife, Diana; her children, Leah Lemmert and Myron Hottell; 3 step-grandchildren, Jeremy, Jacob and Joel Lemmert. He is also survived by a large extended family of nieces, nephews and cousins. A special thanks to his cousin, Paul Brackelsberg, whose support and role as a close confidant meant so much to Ross during his years in care facilities.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Memorial Service: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, December 6, 2018 in Calvary Lutheran Church; Grand Forks, ND.

Eulogies and Reflections: 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. prior to the service in the church on Thursday.

Family Greeting: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. prior to the service in the church on Thursday.

Interment: Calvary Lutheran Church Columbarium.

Military Honors: Accorded by members of the American Legion post 157, The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3817 and the North Dakota Army National Guard.

The online memorial registry may be signed at

(The Historic Norman Funeral Home, Grand Forks, ND)