Ventris Maurice Ingram was born June 24, 1937, to Mark Ingram and Josie Ella Beard in Summit, Oklahoma, a suburb of Muskogee. He moved to Seattle with his mother and step-father Clarence Dunn when he was six years old, living in the Duwamish Bend Projects that housed those working for the war effort. Ventris attended Cleveland Junior and Senior High School. He was a very industrious teen, serving as senior class secretary, vice president of the Letterman’s Club, chairman of the Boy’s Club, playing on two high school championship baseball teams (Go CHS Eagles!), taking bookkeeping courses, and selling and delivering newspapers. He graduated from Cleveland in 1954 as one of 18 students to receive a scholarship – his from Consolidated Freightways – where he worked while attending the University of Washington.
A proud member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Ventris graduated in 1963, with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. He worked for the Post Office as a letter carrier for two years, then went to work for the federal government as an accountant and auditor for the Internal Revenue Service, totaling 40 years of public service. Ventris played an instrumental role in developing an equal opportunity program within the Seattle IRS office. He also played a role in the establishment of Volume Food Basket, the first black-owned and operated a grocery store in the area.
On June 17, 1961, Ventris married his Franklin High School sweetheart and the love of his life, Anita Louise Wilson. The couple had two daughters, Jerri Lynn and Kimberly Michelle. Ventris and Anita raised their family in South Seattle. After retiring as a Revenue Agent in 2000, he and Anita decided to settle down in their dream home in Renton. Though retired, he managed to stay busy managing rental properties, and as a volunteer tax return preparer for AARP (also known as “VITA”) for about 25 years at various locations, in particular, the Rainier Beach Library. In February 2004, he was recognized by the University of Washington Business School for “… Trailblazing Leadership in Business for other African Americans to Follow…”, and “… with much appreciation for your courage, confidence, and determination to study and enter business employment at a time when you had to open doors of opportunity for yourself and other African Americans…”.
Over the years, Ventris enjoyed entering sweepstakes, collecting Red Tails memorabilia and baseball caps, and gardening, which included his prized tomato plants. He enjoyed attending ROOTS picnics (Relatives of Old-Timers) and was a proud member of the Seattle Urban League and NAACP, in addition to actively supporting several civic, civil rights, and non-profit organizations.
Ventris passed away July 16, 2020, leaving to mourn his wife of 59 years, Anita, daughters Jerri Lynn and Kimberly Michelle (David), and a host of other family and friends, near and far.