James Roderick Gross
October 9, 1936 - May 7, 2019
Kansas City, MO
Lt. Colonel James "Jim" R. Gross of Keizer, Oregon, passed away on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 in Kansas City, MO. Jim was born on October 9, 1936 in New York City. He was the son of Anne M. and Anthony L. Gross of Woodbury Falls, NY.
Jim attended Cornwall schools, graduating from Storm King School, where he was elected to the Cum Laude Society. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and graduated from Arizona State University with honors in Mathematics.
He is survived by his wife, Gail of Keizer, OR; son, Eric Gross and wife, Lori of Banks, OR, son, Jason of San Antonio, TX, daughter, Noel Merriam of San Antonio, daughter, Dieri and husband, Adnan of San Antonio, daughter, Rebecca Bustamante of Herndon, VA; his first wife, Marilyn Merriam of Texas; grandchildren: Ryan Gourley, Tristan Bustamante, and Bilal, Jasmine and Sami Dieri; and great-grandson, Zakariya Dieri. He was pre-deceased by his second wife, Elizabeth.
He is also survived by sisters: Audrey Schultz of Randolph, NJ, Mary Ferraro and husband, Angelo of Woodbury Falls and Fanny Gross of Gardiner, NY; brothers: Louis Gross and wife, Donna of Covina, CA, Anthony Gross of Woodbury Falls and Martin Gross and wife, Jane of Woodbury Falls; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Lt. Colonel James R. Gross earned the Distinguished Flying Cross during the Vietnam War. He was part of an army brigade that included seven Air Force pilots who were forward air controllers. When the war was over, he joined the Air Force Reserves and was a flying instructor in the Air Force Jet Pilots School. He is an Honoree on the Wall of Honor in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
He worked for IBM in Fishkill, NY and joined a reserve unit in Newburgh, NY. That was followed by work as a programmer for LTV Corporation, then as a Systems Analyst for Braniff, then TWA Airlines.
In addition to his honorable and distinguished service in the USAF, Jim was the undisputed chess champion at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona, where, at an exhibition tournament, he played chess against five different officers, all at the same time, and beat them all. He also won his matches while playing blindfolded.
Jim founded Uni-Sun publishing company in Kansas City, MO, publishing esoteric books. A published astrologer, Jim enjoyed abstract math, competitive bridge and golf.
Jim was brave, brilliant, compassionate and loving, gifted in both heart and mind, a blessing to his extended family and all he knew. He is deeply missed.
Published in Times Herald-Record from May 16 to May 19, 2019.