Who Was Matt Ross?

Matt RossMatt Ross was an early visionary leader who was instrumental in the development of the modern-day Overland Park. He died in 2003 at the age of 94.

For more than 50 years, Ross had been a founder, leader, follower, worker, innovator, advisor and observer for the city and its residents. He made many successful contributions to the City of Overland Park which is still evident today.

Ross was an Iowa farm boy who loved fishing. He had been married for 75 years and was a proud father of two daughters, grandfather to five and great grandfather to six.


1949: Opened the Ben Franklin Variety Store in downtown Overland Park
1951: Moved to Mission Township
1952-1956: Member of the Mission Urban Township Board: served four terms
1955: President for one term of the Mission Urban Township Board
1960: Lobbied state legislators to name the city the City of Overland Park
1960: Member of the first Overland Park City Council
1960: Elected as Ward IV Council Member
1960: Helped create and acted as the first president of the Overland Park Rotary Club.
1965: Sold Ben Franklin Store
1974-1988: Chairman for the Board of Zoning Appeals
1986-1994: Member of the Police Department Civil Service Commission

Other contributions

  • Started Merchants Association and acted as the first president, now known as the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce
  • Received the Paul Harris Rotary Award for service to the community, which is the highest Rotarian honor.
  • Helped create the Overland Park South Rotary Club
  • Volunteered for the Fire Department Board
  • Chaired the March of Dimes campaign for Johnson County
  • Served on the Metropolitan Planning Council for four terms
  • Member of the Greater Kansas City United Way Committee
  • Board Member for Johnson County Chapter of American Cancer Society
  • Stockholder, director and vice president for the Overland Park Bank, now UMB at 80th and Metcalf. Ross was in charge of the business development
  • Member of the Masonic Order
  • Helped establish the Abdallah Shrine in Overland Park
  • Helped organize fellow downtown businessmen into street cleaning crews to clean up the area around 80th and Santa Fe Drive.
  • Urban Board was created and a street sweeper was purchased which Ross drove