Senator Ross Tolleson tribute: Smiling gray-haired man iv navy suit and light blue tie stands in front of wood wall next to American flag
Former state Sen. Ross Tolleson. (Courtesy Georgia General Assembly)

Former state Sen. Ross Tolleson of Perry, who died last week from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, was remembered by his friends and colleagues at the Capitol as a family man, a trout fisherman, and a devout Baptist who served as a legislator for 13 years. 

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Tolleson, a Republican, helped pass bills that affected wildlife, data security, soil erosion, trade, and more. He is survived by his wife and three children.

State Sen. Larry Walker III, a Republican from Perry, was a good friend of Tolleson and was elected to the same Senate seat after Tolleson’s retirement in 2015. 

“Ross loved people,” Walker said. “Just being around him would make you feel better.” 

Tolleson was also a notorious early bird, a trait Walker attributed to his time spent working at a lumber mill. Walker said that Tolleson was always the first one there at the Capitol, to the point where people would make a game out of trying to beat him there. 

State Sen. John Albers, a Republican from Roswell, said that he once tried to beat Tolleson to the Capitol by arriving at 5:15 a.m., but Tolleson was already present and told him to “tighten up” — his signature catchphrase.

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