Leo W Gross

Leo W Gross

July 21, 1922 ‐ January 05, 2020
Leo W Gross
Birthplace: Forest Park, IL Resided In: Rocky River, OH Visitation: January 20, 2020 Service: January 20, 2020 Cemetery: Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery

Leopold W. Gross  age 97, Beloved husband of Alma  (nee Hoffmeyer). Dear father of Paul ( Peggy Sadler), Cathy Mayo (Mike), John Gross, Judy Blue (Tom), Nancy Riesner ( Doug), Heidi Gross, Jane Russell, Peggy Rein (Paul) and Bonnie Wadel (Ed). Loving grandfather of 15, great grandfather of 8. Brother of the late Irene Guttke and Thelma Ellis. Funeral Service to be held Monday January 20th at 11:30 am at St. Thomas Lutheran Church 21211 Detroit Road Rocky River.  Visitations will be held at the church from 10:30 am until time of service. Interment Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, Rittman, Ohio.  In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to St. Thomas Lutheran Church,  Lutheran West High School or the Concordia Theological Seminary Forth Wayne Indiana or  Lutheran Heritage Foundation, 51474 Romeo Plank Rd., Macomb, MI  48042


Guest Comments

Richard McKeown
Bryant, Arkansas

I know this comes more than two years following "Mr. Gross" passing away but this week my sister Pat visited my home and we were reminiscing about times as children in St. Albans, Vermont and the Gross Family came up. We were able to name all of you and have such fond memories of knowing you and your wonderful parents and outings with you. I remember your home and we even talked about how you all had popcorn on Sunday nights. The sledding from High Street down the backyards of Lakeview Terrace, and so much more. I remember Mr. Gross as such a kind soul who always had a smile for us kids and a manner about him that exuded calm and kindness. Within our trove of family photos is one of my parents with Leo and Alma on snow ski's somewhere in Vermont. There must have been someone else with them because I cannot imagine any of them taking a 'selfie' even those existed then! I have thought of you all over the course of my life and when your family came to mind, it was always attended with a smile. This year will mark Mr. Gross' 100th birthday and I hope that you will celebrate the joy and privilege of being born into such a family. All of you are remembered fondly ... R McKeown

Bonnie (Gross) Wadel
Medina, OH

Monday and Tuesday was an emotional roller coaster. Monday was my dad’s funeral and his celebrations life. We had so many family, friends and even some co-workers of my dad show up. We felt the love as it was a packed service. Music always gets to me and the hymns that were chosen were just so special. The pictures below show mom with all 9 of her children, her children and spouses and then all her children’s, grandkids and spouses and great-grandkids (some were missing even!). You see, family meant everything to my dad and mom. And when is sisters would have a sisters week or weekend, he would just be thrilled that we were doing it!

Tuesday we had the military burial service at Ohio Western Reserve National Cementary in Seville. We felt so much respect and honor towards our father: from the saluting, to the gun salute, to the presentation of the flag and the gun casing. Such an amazing tribute to my father who served in WW II. After this service our family met back at my church to have lunch, look at all the photo albums, play games (because is you know my parents, they were always playing games) and just being with our amazing family! I will miss my father greatly, but I am at peace knowing that he is with our Heavenly Father!

Brittany Dotson
Plantation, FL

From the day of Grandpas passing:

My 97 year old grandpa went to be with his Heavenly Father today.

Although filled with grief I also feel so blessed. Blessed that at 26 years old this is the first time I’m experiencing loss like this. Blessed for the abundant family he provided for- 9 kids and countless grandkids/great grandkids. Blessed that I got to watch him love my grandma so faithfully for 69 years. Blessed that I will see him again someday.

Heidi Gross
Fairview Park Ohio

My dad Leo Gross passed away this past Sunday at 97 yrs. I moved back to Cleveland 4 years ago to be closer to my Mom and Dad. This was the best decision I have made. I loved sitting with him and hearing his stories. When my Dad was 4 his father was injured and his mother had to work. Dad was put in a street car in Los Angeles by himself to go across town to a kindergarten. I think this made him strong, as a Christian, a WWII vet, a loving Husband, Father,Grandfather, and Great grandfather.

When I was little I remember sitting in Dad’s lap and having him read me a book. I followed him around and watched him do house and auto repairs. Many times I had roommates ask how I knew how to fix something and I always replied “ My dad taught me”.

I am so blessed I was able to be close by to be with him in his last days. I know he is now with his Heavenly Father and one day I will be reunited with him.

Nancy (Gross) Riesner
Visalia, CA

How does one write all the wonderful memories I’ve had with my beloved Dad? There are so many because he was just that kind of father! So I’m just going to name a few- but believe me there are too many to recount!
I’m thankful that my Dad taught us what being a strong Christian was all about. We never missed a Sunday service( even if it meant driving 40 minutes to get there)!
I’m thankful for Saturday morning stacks of pancakes and Sunday morning Scrambled eggs. But BEST of all I’m thankful for those special Sunday night meals of Popcorn and Root beer Floats!! I can still hear Dad shaking that pan on the stove- non-stop!
I’m thankful for each summer camping trip to Popham Beach, Maine. Picking out our own lobster to boil back at camp- and asking Dad WHY he never got his own ( he KNEW we’d NEVER eat all of ours).
I’m thankful that there was always new states to visit and explore and Dad was willing to take us all with him.
I’m thankful for his willingness to provide us with a good education. Even if math and science wasn’t our best subject! If we DID our best -that was fine with him-regardless of the grade. And he never complained about driving us to this and that!
I’m thankful that he was willing to provide camping experiences for my children- his grand kids. Those were special times!
I’m thankful for toboggan rides-with kids flying off-down the hill! And visiting Sugar Shacks or collecting fresh snow in bowls -as he drizzled boiled sap collected from our own trees. So yummy and sticky!
I’m thankful I was able to talk him into creating miniatures when he retired! He was so meticulous and I will treasure each little piece he made ( including putting tiny shingles, one by one, on my dollhouse, for me).
I’m most thankful knowing that someday I WILL be reunited again with my wonderful father. I know he’s in a better place.Rest in Peace, Dad. I love you.

Victoria Miskimen Maaske
Horicon, Wisconsin

Oh how we budding teenagers loved those trips from Vermont to the Worlds Fair in Montreal and the freedom we had. We enjoyed going to church in New Hampshire, the hour it took to get there, the lovely view from your house in Vermont. I have not been back, but we will try to work it into my plans. WE loved the family times with all our cousins, Uncle Leo was so special, he made everything calm when he was around. We had a lot of fun together with you cousins. Thanks for the Christian example to us all throughout life Uncle Leo and Aunt Alma. HE was my sponsor throughout childhood and a great example of a Christian life. I did not realize he had so many duties, one would never know. He always had time for family. We mourn his earthly loss but remember that Heaven awaits us too.

Kari Mayo
Chicago, IL

Since I’ve known Grandpa my whole life, it’s sometimes hard to remember that he led a full life before I ever had the pleasure of knowing him. I’ve included some things below that are a large part of who Leo was.

Leo was born on July 21, 1922 in Forrest Park, IL to Leopold and Freida (nee Meier) Gross. He and his family moved around a lot during his childhood while his dad looked for work during the depression. The family called Illinois, Michigan, and California home before finally settling in Michigan City, Indiana.

While Leo knew he wanted to be an engineer, he and his family didn’t have money for college. He was lucky enough to attend a high school where they had types of vocational training. He ended up taking machine shop for 3 years and loving it! In high school, he was also introduced to basketball. He played for 3 years in high school and again at Valparaiso and was nicknamed Wheels by his teammates.

Through a scholarship he received after graduating and the money he was able to save by working as a machinist, Leo did end up going to college. . .several, in fact! He attended Valparaiso from 1942 – 1943 and again in 1946 (after the war). As a part of his army training, in 1943, Leo attended Michigan State Normal College which is now Eastern Michigan University. He finally graduated from Purdue University with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1948.

Education was very important to Leo, and was one of the reasons he enlisted when the war started. He knew that, if he was drafted, he would have to drop whatever he was doing and report. With only 2 weeks left in his semester, he asked if he could enlist and then report in 2 weeks so he wouldn’t lose his credits. They agreed and he got to finish his semester before reporting. He ended up serving for 9 months in Europe during WWII as a Corporal in the 304th Infantry, 76th Division as an anti-tank gunner and was in the Battle of the Bulge.

After the war, while living in Cleveland in 1948, Leo met the love of his life – Alma (nee Hoffmeyer). They were married on June 17th, 1950 at St Paul Lutheran in Lakewood. During their 69 year marriage, they lived in several places as they grew their family. They started their lives in Lakewood, OH (Paul and Cathy) then went on to Avon Lake, OH (John) before moving to Bennington, VT (Judy and Nancy) and St. Albans, VT (Heidi, Jane, Peggy, and Bonnie) then finally ending up in North Olmsted, OH in 1968. Leo often said that Alma was the answer to his prayers, and that was certainly evident to all who had the pleasure of knowing them as a couple.

Both before and after the war, Leo had several jobs as machinist, tool & die designer, and plant manager at Pittsburg Plate Glass Co in Cleveland before he began his career at Union Carbide (now Everready). He started at Union Carbide in 1951 as an engineering assistant and retired as the head of purchasing in 1987. He worked for them in both Cleveland and Vermont.

Between work and helping to raise 9 kids, you wouldn’t think there would be time for much else, yet Leo found time to serve his community by being a Boy Scout leader, the School Commissioner in St. Albans, and on the local and state PTA. As if that wasn’t enough, he was also a very active member of his church, serving as a Deacon, Vice President, PTL President, member of the choir, Sunday school teacher, member of the Board of Control of Ft. Wayne Seminary, and board member of the OH District Board of Directors. Even with all that, he still made time for his hobbies which included golf, hunting, fishing, woodworking, miniatures, painting, and gardening.

After retirement, Leo shared his hobbies with his grandchildren (Jen, Kari, Tom, David, Chris, Tara, Chris, Victoria, Stacy, Andrew, Jessa, Jeffy, Brittany, Bethany, and Breanna) and could often be found on the sidelines of whatever sport they were playing, cheering them on. When he was blessed with his great grandchildren (Cameron, Ashton, Marin, Elise, Alex, Anna, Audrey, and Orson), he found renewed joy in them and got to experience being a grandpa in a whole new way.

He was a wonderful man with a full life will be missed by all of us lucky enough to call him family!

Bonnie Wadel
Medina, OH

You have seen my post recently that my father is going downhill fast. We know his time is near. I cannot tell you how much I love witnessing the love between my parents who will be married 70 years this year. Marriage is not all fun and games and romance, there are peaks and valleys and some major hardships. I can attest to all of you that witnessing my parents firm faith in God and knowing that God saved each of us from our sins so we can be with him in heaven is what gives us hope and makes this painful experience bearable and gives us peace and comfort.

I remember a bible verse that I learned in grade school has always stayed with me. It is the last part of Revelation 2:10 and says something like “be faithful till you die and I will give you the crown of life”. And of course a bible verse that we all should know is John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

Bonnie Wadel
Medina, OH

My wonderful father passed away early Sunday morning. I started getting sick Saturday night and didn’t even sleep at all. I had many hymns going through my head and was praying that my dad would be at peace. One song welsh lullaby that then came into my head around the time of my dad’s passing is “All Through the Night” by Edward Jones the lyrics of the first two verses are:

All Through The Night

Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and dale in slumber sleeping
I my loved ones' watch am keeping,
All through the night

Angels watching, e'er around thee,
All through the night
Midnight slumber close surround thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and dale in slumber sleeping
I my loved ones' watch am keeping,
All through the night

My heart is so sad for those of us left behind but oh how I am so excited that my father is in heaven and experiencing all that we can’t even imagine up there! My family members have made such special tributes to him, better than I ever could! I am so thankful that I had my dad around until he was 97. Little did I know that the day before he passed was the last time that I would hold my dad’s hands. I will always treasure all those moments that I have had with him! Love you dad!!

Kari Mayo
Chicago, IL

My amazing grandpa was 97 years, 5 months, 2 weeks, and 1 day old when he passed away. . .and that matters. When you live the life he lived, each MINUTE mattered. We were blessed to have so much time with him, even though it doesn’t feel like enough.

Leo, a WWII veteran and retired engineer, was a loving husband to my grandma, a dedicated father to his 9 children, and a doting grandpa and great grandpa to all of us lucky enough to have him. His love for Grandma was the purest, best, and truest love I’ve ever been lucky enough to witness. This year would have been 70 years of marriage for them, and they were still as sweet as newlyweds.

The only thing stronger than his love for his bride was his immense faith in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Knowing that Grandpa is rejoicing in heaven and (surely) belting out his favorite hymns, no longer in pain and once again able to hear and see is comforting to my broken heart.

While I am so thankful he is no longer in pain, selfishly, I will always want one more, “Love you, sweetie,” one more hug, one more pep talk, and one more story. All the time I shared with him was a blessing and I am at peace knowing that he knew how much I loved him, as I know how much he loved me. I guess the only thing left to say is: Well done, good and faithful servant!

Jane Russell
Fairview Park

My Mom asked me to add some nice memories about my father, Leo Gross. I find this a real hard exercise… not because I don’t have any nice memories – I do have a lot of those – but because I find it hard to put down, in words, what an amazing man my Dad was.
My Dad loved the Lord, loved his family, loved his job, and loved his country.
Dad’s faith in the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ was very important to him. He practiced what he preached. You could see this in the form of family devotions - reading the Bible after every dinner and saying prayers, church and Sunday school, and Bible classes. But not just that. His love of the Lord was shown in how he treated not just his family, but the world around him. He helped neighbors in crisis, friends that need rides to chemo, a soft place to land for my daughters and I when we needed it, and even in early recycling programs with his massive aluminum ball.
Dad would always kiss Mom when he got home from work, before doing anything else. Even in his later years, even in his last days, would enjoy “smooches” with his beloved wife, Alma. He would take over cooking duties on Sunday evenings with popcorn, ice cream, and ice cream floats. He also enjoyed making pancakes and waffles on the weekends for the family, and later, enjoyed making them for visiting grand-kids.
I remember Dad was so patient with me when I was younger and had no interest in learning to read. He would sit me on his lap, in the living room, away from the chaos of a large family, and allowed me to read, and re-read, at my own pace, from my favorite Clifford The Big Red Dog books.
He would take us on these wonderful, adventurous camping trips (I do think I may have grumbled each and every time, though). He encouraged all of us to explore and learn about nature and our country. He tried so hard to get us all to fish with him.
I always remember Dad as being a quiet man. That may have been because we had a large family and he didn’t get a chance to talk. As I got older, he would talk more. It was fun learning about the boy and man he was when he was younger. I will miss those talks. I will miss his laugh. I will miss his encouragement. I look forward to seeing him again one day in heaven.

Elizabeth Jackson
Oak Creek, Wisconsin

Uncle Leo was a Christian who read the Bible, led his family in prayer, and shared the scriptures with his family. In August he shared his experiences at the Battle of the Bulge: not having drinking water, not being able to shower for three months, living in a fox hole and getting soaked with rain while under fire. Our Patriot, Uncle Leo will be greatly missed.

Linda-Lee Romanowski
Wesley Chapel Florida

I have always been proud to have LEE in my name, knowing that it stood for LEOPOLD. My Mom, my daughter and I have had the honor of being named after my Great Uncle Leo. My Grandma Guttke always said that her brother was a great man. God Bless you all!

Joan Heinrich
Lakewood, Ohio

Dear Cathy,

May God hold your family close in the days and weeks ahead. May you walk in the Light of the Spirit.

Bob Miskimen
Avon, IN

What a Patriot and great Uncle. I was a fan of every visit to the Gross family. May God bless you all with His peace and joy in his resting days. The dash between the dates meant a bunch to his family, church, relatives, friends, and out great nation. Christ paid richly forLeo's life and he lived in that Grace serving in abundance.

Cathy Mayo
Cincinnati, OH

My 97 year old father was a special man. He was first and foremost a faithful Christian. He was a WWII vet who loved to tell about his adventures in the past few years. He liked fishing, hunting, and camping ( or maybe the camping was the only way a family of 11 could take a vacation!) He loved to paint and do woodworking, including making beautiful miniature dollhouse furniture. He raised 9 children who all became productive adults. He was a wonderful husband to my mom and father to all of his children. When we were growing up he had lots of patience. We had 1 car until I was in college and he never complained or sighed about having to take us to and from work, school events, and church events. Every Saturday we would wake up to classical music and he'd make us pancakes or waffles for breakfast before we had to do our assigned chores.. Sunday was scrambled eggs before church. We will miss him, but are thankful for all the years we had him around.

Tim Lehenbauer
Bonaire GA

You were always a Christian witness Uncle Leo and you will be missed, but I'm thankful that you are in Heaven and free of earthly pain. Auf Weidersehen!