Viola Denisa Rowe Gross was born in Danville, Kentucky on August 25, 1921 to the union of Robert Rowe, Sr., and Hortense Moore Rowe. She entered rest on February 20, 2012 in Versailles, Kentucky.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Dr. Rodney T. Gross Jr., a Grayson veterinarian; her son Dr. Gregory Gross; her sister Ruth Rowe Robinson; her brother Robert Rowe, Jr.; and three other siblings.
Mrs. Gross accepted Christ at an early age at St. James A.M.E. Church in Danville, KY. After relocating to Grayson, KY, she joined Bagby Memorial Methodist Church. Upon moving to Frankfort in 2003, she joined St. John A.M.E. Church. She loved each of the churches and served faithfully until her health failed.
Mrs. Gross graduated from Bate High School and attended Knoxville College and later transferred to Kentucky State University. She graduated from Kentucky State University with a degree in English and Social Studies. She taught high school in Missouri for one year after college and later moved to Columbus, Ohio to live with her aunt.
While in Columbus, she met and married her husband, Rodney T. Gross Jr. After her husband graduated from Ohio State University, he then attended and graduated from Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama with a doctorate in veterinarian medicine. Mrs. Gross worked at the Veteran's Administration Hospital while in Tuskegee and they lived there three years after Dr. Gross' graduation while he served as a professor at the university.
In their union, they parented two children, Rodney T. Gross III and Dr. Gregory Gross.
After leaving Alabama, they moved to Grayson, KY. They opened Gross Veterinary Clinic in Grayson in 1957 and expanded it in 1981. The Gross’ were the first professional African American family to settle in Carter County. Mrs. Gross served as office manager for 35 years until her husband passed away in 1992. While residing in Grayson, Mrs. Gross served on several national, state and local boards and committees. From there she moved to Frankfort, Kentucky and completed her book, “Two Hundred Years of Freedom” and published it in 2003. Mrs. Gross received the Frankfort/Franklin County Branch of the NAACP “Woman of the Year” award in 2005.
Her hobbies included rock collecting, traveling with her family and spending time with her grandchildren.
Mrs. Gross resided in Versailles, Kentucky at Taylor Manor Nursing Home. She leaves to cherish her memory a loving son who cared for her until her passing, Rodney T. Gross III, three grandchildren, Micheal Gross, Crystal Gross, Rodney T. Gross IV and great grandson Cameron Gross. She also leaves numerous nieces, nephews, a host of cousins, extended family members and special friends.
Visitation on Friday February 24th at St. John A.M.E. Church, 210 W. Clinton St., Frankfort from 4-7 p.m. The funeral is Saturday February 25th at 1 p.m. proceeded by visitation starting at noon, also at St. John A.M.E. Church. An online guestbook is available at www.smith-jackson.com