Arnold Issac Gross passed away in Ashland, Ore. February 2, 2014. He was a man of many colorful interests and valued friends and family. Arnie, as friends know him, was born in Middletown, Conn. June 17, 1936 to Sophie and Yale Gross who immigrated from Poland and Russia. He grew up in the family grocery store business with summers spent at the Connecticut seaside.
He attended the University of Connecticut, served in the U.S. Army in West Germany, as he liked to tell people, he served with Elvis Presley. After the Army he ventured to New York City where it is rumored he was one of the original beatniks. He then headed west to San Francisco, Calif. with a band of friends, crazies following their therapist as he put it. He fit right in to the Haight Ashbury days. He moved into a houseboat in Sausalito and delivered mail in Marin City. Arnie was a great story teller and wrote about the colorful people he met for the local Sausalito newspaper. He was immersed in the riotous houseboat WARS of Sausalito and acted in the movie the "Last Free Ride that told the tiny houseboat community of artists, writers and musicians, story of fighting county development. He counted among his friends Sally Stanford (mayor and former Madame of Sausalito) and Shel Silverstein the writer. He explored his spirituality with Sunyata, a rare born mystic, studied the Urantia Book and met Shlomo Carlbach who planted the seeds for his future involvement with Jewish Renewal and his friendship with Reb Aryeh Hirshfield.
In 1979 Arnie married Mary Lou Crowley and together with their two children, Josh and Julia, moved to Ashland, Ore. in 1985 where he wrote, sold crystals, books, and more at local flea markets. After his divorce he moved to Talent, Ore. spending many mornings sipping coffee and philosophizing with friends and was in several poets and writers groups. He was active in both Temple Emek Shalom and the Havurah as one friend put it Despite being somewhat mishugana Arnold was a deeply spiritual man." The last two years of his life he spent at Skylark Assisted Living and Linda Vista Nursing Facility. He continued as a story teller. The last few months when he could no longer talk he found joy in singing.
Arnold was preceded in death by his sister, Edythe, and his parents, Sophie and Yale. He leaves behind his children, Julia and Josh Gross; brother-in-law, Art Director; his niece and nephew, Judy Guzman and David Director and their families; and many friends who will miss him.
Memorial services will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 9, 2014, starting with stories and a service. For information and ride requests call 541-201-2663 or 541-621-0743.