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GROSS, Richard F. Former President of Gordon College Of Hamilton, age 87, passed away on November 21, 2018. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jody, of Ft. Worth, Texas, and their sons, Tyler and his wife Susan of Hamilton, and Toby of Atlanta. Also surviving are his grandchildren, Jordan, Toby, Moriah (and husband Joshua) of Hamilton, and Kayley, Amanda, and Ansley of Atlanta, as well as nieces and nephews. Born and raised on the southside of Chicago, Dick was predeceased by his parents, Adolph and Alma Gross, and sister Charlotte. He attended Chicago public schools, where he achieved membership in the Scholastic Honor Society, and citywide recognition for his basketball playing. His undergraduate degree (Economics) was earned at Wheaton College (Illinois), where he made a notable career in basketball, being senior captain on a team which went undefeated in conference play. In 1953, he was drafted by the NBA, Rochester Royals (now Sacramento Kings) and played the preseason with the Royals in a tour of the New England states against the Celtics, before being drafted into the Army. He holds membership in Wheaton's Scholastic Honor Society and Athletic Hall of Honor. Dick served two years in the U.S. Army where he continued to play basketball and was captain of the team that won the All-Army Basketball Championship in 1956. Celtic Hall of Famer Sam Jones, and NBA player and coach Al Bianchi were also members of that club. He and other members of that team participated in the Olympic basketball tryouts in 1956. His graduate degrees (MA, Ph.D) were earned at Michigan State University. His 40 year career was spent in Higher Education Administration at his Alma Mater, Wheaton (Dean of Students), Michigan State University (Student Housing), and Gordon College where he served as Dean of the Faculty, and President. He was noted for the emphasis on faculty recruitment and development, institutional governance, faith and learning issues, and faculty-staff compensation. He created a unique faculty development program which attracted national attention. The notable A. J. Gordon Scholars Program was his creation and continues to pay dividends to students and the college. He believed a strong and vibrant community was the backbone of a college and along with Jody, worked diligently to achieve that. Jody was an essential and effective partnership in his work. In an Exxon Foundation funded study (1986), he was named one of the 100 most effective college presidents in the United States. Dick was very involved in the accreditation process, serving on several evaluation teams and as chairman of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Dick and his wife started Home Style Laundry on the North Shore. Their son, Tyler, continues to develop and manage the family business. He served on the Board of Directors of Essex Bank (and successors), Holyoke Mutual Insurance Company, Covenant Christian Academy and the Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund. He was a member of the First Congregational Church in Hamilton, the Myopia Hunt Club, and the Classics (Naples, Florida). He was interested in art and antiques, and a collector of the work of artists of the Cape Ann School. He was a longtime fan of Bluegrass music. A Service of Celebration will be held at Gordon College on January 19, 2018 at 10:00 am in the A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. Arrangements by the Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, BEVERLY 01915. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent as a non-charitable check for the Makoni Fund (specify the fund on the memo line), made payable to Gordon College, and mailed to the Advancement Office, Gordon College, 255 Grapevine Road, Wenham, MA 01984-9971. Charitable donations can also be made to the College in support of the Richard F. Gross Distinguished Lecture Series. Information, directions, & condolences at www.campbellfuneral.com
Published in The Boston Globe on Jan. 13, 2019
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