|Robert ("Bob") H. Gross, Sr., a war hero, patriot, business pioneer, political leader, and active contributor to the development of West Hartford, died Friday, February 17, 2017. He was 96. Born in Hartford, he was the son of the late Sigmund and Anna Rebecca (Saltman) Gross. He was a 1938 graduate of Weaver High School in Hartford and attended Boston University before entering the U.S. Armed Forces in 1942. He flew 33 missions over Europe as a flight navigator during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with Five Clusters, and the Purple Heart. During the War, he narrowly escaped death twice. He survived a runway crash. Also, on D-Day, when navigators were ordered not to fly with their planes, his plane and crew never made it back. After the War, and even recently, he made a point of contacting and visiting the relatives of all of his fellow crew members from that plane, as the last American to see these young soldiers alive. Most recently, he was "knighted" by the French Government as a "Chevalier" for his distinguished service in World War II. Returning to Hartford after the War, Bob became a pioneer in recycling and a leader in developing the region's recycling industry. He was President and Founder of Gross Paper Corporation in Hartford and Vice President of the Eastern Paper Mills Association. Bob became intensely committed to the West Hartford community. He served as Deputy Mayor and a member of the Town Council for the Town of West Hartford. As an elected official, he was a strong advocate for strict construction and traffic zoning to preserve the natural beauty of the town. He served as President and a member of the Board of Trustees of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford; he also served as Chairman of the Cemetery Committee. He was a past President and member of the Board of Directors of the Hebrew Home, President of West Hartford Fellowship Housing, and President of the King Philip Elementary and Junior High Schools' PTAs. Devoted to family, Bob and his loving wife of 73 years, Cynthia, had a long history of caring for elderly and infirm relatives in the couple's own home. Among their long-term boarders were Zelak Max (Cynthia's father), Simon Weber (Cynthia's uncle), Sarah Rothman (Bob's aunt), and Evelyn Marholin (Cynthia's sister). Bob leaves his wife Cynthia (Max) Gross; their sons, Andrew Gross and his wife Donna of Bloomfield; Robert Gross, Jr. and his wife Karen of West Simsbury, and Sigmund Wissner-Gross and his wife Elizabeth of Great Neck, NY; their eight beloved grandchildren and their spouses and partners: Sarah Gross and William Petras, David Gross and Dana Slater, Robert Gross III and Sarah Quish, Peter and Kim Gross, Alex Wissner-Gross and Tim Sullivan, Zach Wissner-Gross and Randi Goldman, Philip Gross, and Mitchell Gross. He is also survived by his three great-grandchildren: Sophia Gross, Benjamin Gross, and Wyatt Gross. He was predeceased by his sister, Lina Podnetsky. |
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM on Sunday, February 19, 2017 in the Chapel of the Weinstein Mortuary, 640 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105 with Rabbi Michael Pincus officiating. Interment will follow in Beth Israel Cemetery, Affleck St., Hartford. Following the interment the family will receive relatives and friends at the family residence in West Hartford. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Temple Beth Israel or to a favorite charity . Arrangements are entrusted to Weinstein Mortuary, Hartford, CT. For further information, directions, or to sign the guest book for Bob, please visit online at www.weinsteinmortuary.com/funerals.cfm.