Wordsmith leaves legacy of years of wisdom

Farewell  to former The Advertiser What’s Your Problem editor, Barbara Vivienne Ross, who died on October 18 in Adelaide, aged 82.

Barbara was Adelaide’s local Dorothy Dix with all the answers to myriad questions presented to the What’s Your Problem column, which she edited for more than 20 years.  When she retired in 1989, she had amassed thousands of readers who read her missives faithfully.

Born in Tasmania, Barbara joined Launceston’s The Examiner newspaper as a cadet journalist. When she met Peter Ross, who worked at the local radio station, they married in 1955 and later moved to Adelaide.

When they separated in 1962, Barbara was left with two children to raise alone.  In 1968, she joined the Advertiser as a journalist, taking over What’s Your Problem, which had started the previous year.

Over time, she made it one of the most popular columns of the paper. In 1982, she produced a book of the most popular questions and answers and it sold out in one day.  A second print run followed and Volume II in 1985 was just as popular .

Barbara retired in 1989 and spent her retirement gardening, reading and completing The Advertiser crossword daily. She died of a stroke and is survived by Nicholas and Caroline and her five  beloved grandchildren.


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