Obituary for Lawrence Bernard Gross

Lawrence Bernard Gross

Lawrence Bernard Gross (Lieutenant Colonel, Retired) of Pierceton, IN died at home on May 21, 2022, at the age of 98.  He was born near Warsaw, IN to Earl and Katie Pearl ROPP Gross on August 19, 1923.  He was the 4th child of 7 children born into this family.

After graduating from Pierceton High School in 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and entered flying school in San Antonio, Texas, where in 1944 he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and received his pilot’s wings.  After many assignments to various air bases, he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in August 1970 as a Command Pilot with over 9000 hours flying time.  He was a decorated veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.  Of the many awards he received, those of which he was most proud were the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross), the Air Medal (Heroic/Meritorious Service) with three oak leaf clusters, and the Bronze Star.

As a child in the 1920’s a teenager during the Depression, and a young adult during the 1940’s, he was a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, an Air Force Officer, and a Christian.  Lawrence embodied the values and strengths of the “Greatest Generation” and will be missed greatly by his family and all who knew him.  His love for his country could only be rivaled by his love for his family and friends.

Lawrence was an avid reader of history and aviation.   He was a member of the Wounded Warrior Project.  Lawrence was active in the United Methodist Church of Pierceton, serving on many committees.  For several years, he had served as Church Treasurer and teacher for the adult Sunday School Class.  Lawrence and Athalia celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary in June 2021.

Lawrence is survived by his dearly beloved wife, Athalia; their children, daughter Mary Beth Esneault (spouse Jim) of Arizona; son James Lawrence Gross (spouse Joyce) of Pennsylvania; grandchildren, Eva Marie Washburn of Alaska, Joseph Lawrence Esneault of Arizona, Jeremy Robert Orr of Warsaw, and Jennifer Malia Flinn of Silver Lake; great-grandsons, Braydon Washburn of Alaska, and Hunter Jones of Ft. Wayne; and many loved nieces and nephews.  Preceding him in death were his parents, Earl and Katie Pearl Gross, a sister, Neva Gross and brothers, Robert Gross of Missouri, Walter Gross of California, Max Gross of Warsaw, Bill Gross of Utah, and Paul Gross of Missouri.

Lawrence was a very caring and loving husband and father.  The gifts he left us in the form of memories are many and he will be deeply missed by all.

Military funeral services 2:00pm Thursday May 26, 2022 McHatton-Sadler Funeral Chapel 105 S. 1st St, Pierceton. Visitation 1-2pm Thursday. Rev’s John Baughman and Carolyn Kern will give the message.  Burial will be at Hillcrest Cemetery in Pierceton.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made online to the Wounded Warriors Project at or to the Animal Welfare League of Kosciusko County, 1048 S. 325 E., Pierceton, IN  46562 or

A favorite poem “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings. Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things. You have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung. High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long, delirious burning blue, I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace. Where never lark, or even eagle flew and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod. The high un-trespassed sanctity of space, put out my hand and touched the face of God.

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