Edward Gross died after a gratifying life both professional & personal. He was born in 1921 in a small town in Romania. When he was 6 months old, his parents emigrated to join other family in Vancouver, Canada. He attended schools showing early aptitude & love of education which continued throughout his life. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1942 where he was awarded the Governor General's Gold Medal as the head of the graduating class. He pursued postgraduate work at the University of Toronto in economics and sociology, & at the University of Chicago where he took a Ph.D in sociology.
He had many academic positions at Washington State University, the University of Minnesota & the University of Washington until his retirement in 1989. He was also a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Queensland & Griffith University in Australia. In 1987, he was invited by the government of China to lecture on American higher education, which he carried out in several Chinese cities. He was the author of a number of widely used studies in books & numerous academic journals. These dealt with the goals & structure of universities & of bureaucratic organizations, as well as with the careers of academic administrators. A second interest in those publications was on the subject of embarrassment which he felt to be a fundamental index to character & social life. He was fond of saying that although we all experience embarrassment, how we handle it tells us much about our inner life.
His studies in embarrassment led him to a brush with media attention even to appearing on TV talk shows as well as many radio shows. Although friends assumed he was then entering a new career, he regarded it as providing only some amusement in a serious academic career.
In his 60s, his interests turned from Sociology to research on corporate crime, an involvement that led him to spend time in law libraries. Later he enrolled as a full time student to pursue a law degree. Although his fellow students sometimes thought he was getting a free ride, he was not-- taking all exams (& paying all fees- his wife Florence, MSW used her Social Security to finance his education). Few of the designers of Social Security likely could have envisaged that it would result in the production of another lawyer. Although he did receive a law degree and practiced briefly in a small firm he soon was teaching again in the university honors program on the subject of law & community -- a happy combination of law & sociology. These & other achievements led to his being included in Who's Who for many years.
After retirement, he began to
offer film-commentaries to various audiences on legal subjects, an activity he continued until his death. He found film studies fascinating, wishing he had started such work earlier. He felt the same way about his involvement in law. He often commented that his father sometimes complained that he could not really understand what sociology had to contribute & occasionally was even puzzled that he was paid for it.
His life was enriched by his 70 years of marriage to his beloved wife, Florence. They met as students at the University of British Columbia. She carried on her own career as social worker in agencies & family court. While Ed was enjoying himself as a visiting scholar in Australia, she was working to introduce family therapy to the Australian courts. His life was also fulfilled by their son, David (Marilyn) daughter, Deborah (Robert), granddaughter Melana (Bret), & 3 great grandsons. He is also survived by his sister, Evelyn.
Over the years, he was active as member of Temple Beth Am in Seattle serving on the governing board. He will be fondly remembered by his many audiences, colleagues, family & friends. He had a splendid sense of humor that all will miss.
In lieu of flowers donations should be made to U of Washington Library.
Arrangements by Bleitz Funeral Home. Please leave tributes for the family by visiting:
Published in The Seattle Times on July 28, 2013