Alton Ross, Jr.

Alton Ross, Jr. died Sunday at the age of 83.

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A Nashville honky tonk entrepreneur died Sunday. 

According to a release, Alton Ross, Jr. died Sunday at the age of 83. Ross was a Tompkinsville, KY native and a graduate of the prestigious Wharton School, the business school at the University of Pennsylvania. Ross even served in the U.S. Army from 1953-55 in Germany.

Ross started his career managing a Fruit of the Loom plant in Lafayette, TN. He eventually left manufacturing to become a stockbroker and eventually rose to the position of partner and head of retail sales for the Tennessee region of Nashville-based J.C. Bradford & Co., an investment banking and brokerage giant.

Ross often partnered with honky tonk owner and fellow entrepreneur Steve Smith. Ross had a stake in several iconic clubs and restaurants, such as the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Panama City Beach, FL.

Other large establishments Ross was involved in include Honky Tonk Central, Rippy’s Bar & Grill, Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk and Rock n’ Roll Steakhouse, The Diner and Old Hickory Country Club. He also owned the Nashville Kats arena football team for a time.

Ross is survived by his wife Wanda, whom he had been married to for 61 years, his son Hardy and his wife Elizabeth of Nashville, granddaughters Lindsey and Jessica, his brother Dr. Jay Ross and his wife Ann of Tampa, FL, and three nephews Cary, Brian and David all of Tampa.

A rosary will be held at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Saint Henry Catholic Church located at 6401 Harding Pike in Nashville. Visitation and a reception will follow from 5 to 8 p.m. at the church.

The funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Saint Henry, immediately followed by a celebration of life at The Diner, located at 200 Third Ave. South in Nashville.

Floral arrangements are welcome and gifts in his memory can be made to Alive Hospice, located at 1718 Patterson Street or Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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WSMV Digital Content Producer

A New York City native and a graduate of the Mizzou School of Journalism, Ethan joined the WSMV Digital Team in June 2019. Send him story ideas, food recommendations and sports topics to and follow him on Twiiter @EthanIllers_TV!

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