In Memoriam: Rumson-Raised Charlie Gross, 76

Rumson-raised Charlie Gross, “loving husband, brother, stepfather and grandfather, whose dedication to Monmouth County maritime history was reflected in his love of boatbuilding, passed away on Tuesday in Lincroft due to complications from a chronic neurological illness.”

“A founding member of the Navesink River Rowing Club, Charlie could be seen on quiet early mornings sculling on the still waters of the Navesink. Charlie was a lifelong vigorous athlete, but, always outdoors, he never joined a gym. Even until the age of 70, he continued to row in the annual classic Head of the Charles Race in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In his heart, he was always a teacher, and his encouragement, coaching and generosity allowed many Monmouth County high school students to learn about crew racing, which was not available at local schools, resulting that many of them could qualify for university athletic scholarships … Although some friends had once kidded Charlie that he was too athletic and too active to work a job indoors, he retorted that, as a reference librarian, he delighted in his unlimited access to ‘all of the unclassified information in the world.'”

Loved ones of Charlie Gross in his obituary

Charles Welles Gross was born on October 30, 1946, in Plainfield, New Jersey, the third of four children to Julia Gross (nee Julia Kernan) and Mason W. Gross, then a recent Army veteran and university professor who would later become president of Rutgers, the State University.

He attended both Lafayette Street and Forrestdale elementary schools in Rumson, then graduated from the Taft School in Watertown, CT. There, he played varsity football, captained varsity lacrosse, played slide trombone in the jazz dance band and was elected to student government.

At the University of Wisconsin, he rowed on the freshman crew in the 1965 National Invitational Tournament, and majored in Asian Studies, which included learning to write, read and speak Chinese, a skill which he continued to practice until late in life.

Returning to New Jersey after Wisconsin, Charlie lived in Freehold and worked as a landscaper for many years. Charlie then completed a Masters’ Degree in Library Science at Rutgers and became a local librarian, eventually retiring from the Monmouth County Library.

In honor of his help with the Garden of Plenty at the Monmouth Reformed Temple, in 2010 Charlie was awarded the title of Honorary Master Gardener.

He is survived by: his loving wife, Gloria Zane Gross; his three siblings, Ellen, Kitty and Thomas; his stepson, Spencer Baretz and wife Rebecca, of Locust; multiple cousins, nieces and nephews; and his grandchildren, Carly, Noah, Milo, Gigi and Roxie, who adored him, called him “Papa,” and are all grieving as well.

He will be remembered as a kind, generous and loving man, whose face glowed with delight when in the company of his friends and family.
In lieu of flowers, in Charlie’s memory please consider supporting either the Navesink River Rowing Club, at PO Box 6153, Fair Haven, New Jersey, 07704, or the Lewy Body Dementia Association.

— Edited obituary prepared by family via John E. Day Funeral Home