George H.R.(Barney) Ross, 65, who survived the sinking of the PT 109 torpedo boat with Lt. John F. Kennedy during World War II, moved to Washington after the former lieutenant became President of the United States, and eventually became a manpower specialist at the United Planning Organization, died July 24 at George Washington University Hospital. He had been in a coma since suffering a cardiac arrest on July 12.
In an interview with The Washington Post in 1979, Mr. Ross described himself as a man of impulse. He was a Navy ensign in the Solomon Islands in 1943 when, on an impulse, he asked Kennedy if he could ship aboard the PT 109 during a night patrol.
Six hours later, the boat was cut in half by a Japanese destroyer. Mr. Ross and the future president spent a week on an island with the other nine crew members. Help came when a coconut that Kennedy had carved a message upon and set afloat was found by other Americans. Mr. Ross received the Purple Heart and Navy and Marine medals for his part in the affair.
After the war, he went into the insurance business in Barrington, Ill. In 1959, Kennedy asked him to help with his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960. Mr. Ross recalled that he accepted the challenge on an impulse.
When Kennedy was in the White House, he called Mr. Ross and asked him to work on the President's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime. And so Mr. Ross came to Washington. He worked on the committee and also helped draft proposals for the Peace Corps and VISTA, its domestic counterpart.
In 1964, Mr. Ross joined the UPO as a manpower specialist. In 1965, he was badly injured in a motorcycle accident, but this had little effect on his ability to find jobs for people who wanted them. In 1977, he received the UPO's Distinguished Service Award. A year later, he helped set up a job training program with the Department of Defense.
Mr. Ross, who lived in Bethesda, was born in Michigan and reared in Ravinia, Ill. He graduated from Princeton University and then went into the Navy. He was a volunteer with the Partnership-With-Youth Campaign of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase YMCA and a member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church.
The D.C. City Council proclaimed July 20 George (Barney) Ross Day.
Mr. Ross' survivors include his wife, the former Patricia Ann Trude, of Bethesda; two daughters, Wendy Ross of Boston, Mass., and Martha Marble of Brunswick, Md., and two grandsons. graphics/photo: GEORGE HENRY (BARNEY) ROSS