Julian Benton Gross

Julian Benton Gross

Our father died on October 27, 1962. It seems fitting to pay tribute to his life and memory on the 50th anniversary of his death.

Julian Benton Gross was born April 22, 1917, graduated from Calhoun High School in 1934, married his sweetheart, Gladys Regions, and served in the South Pacific during WWII. After the war, he settled his growing family in Calhoun and opened a car repair shop where men came to shoot the breeze while he worked under the hood.

He was not wealthy nor was he college-educated but he was beloved by those who knew him, so much so that stories about "Spot" Gross circulate to this day. He was known primarily for his directness, biting wit, high ethical standards and his incredibly big heart. He drew people to him without trying or being aware of it.

Stories of his kindnesses are legion. Once, on one of those rare cold days when ice prevented folks from driving up the hill to collect their mail from the post office, he parked his tractor at the base of the hill and transported people to and from the post office all day long. He was also known to leave bags of groceries on the doorsteps of those who he knew needed help.

We witnessed the proof of his standing in the community at his funeral where people were crowded into the church, with many standing outside each open window to catch a bit of his service.

Although his death had a great impact on us his children, it was his brief presence that defined us in important ways. Though we have spent the last 50 years without him, he has remained a powerful force in our lives. He used to tell us, "When you die, you have as much or as little as anyone else. All you leave behind is your name. It's up to you whether you leave a good one or a bad one."

We cherish his good name and the childhood memories he made possible. We are so proud that he was our father and we will always miss this wonderful man.

Richard, Vicki and Victor (and James, 1953-2008).

Published in The News Star on Oct. 28, 2012