Lillian Sylvia Gross | The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh

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RAW: Lillian Sylvia Gross, born February 5, 1930 in Homeville, Pennsylvania, to the most wonderful parents, Rose and Zoltan Smooke of blessed memory, passed away November 7, 2022 in the care of her loving and caring family Ebere Victoria. Sylvia, AKA “Double”, a nickname she acquired from her toddler grandsons, exemplifies generosity of spirit, unconditional love, open door values ​​and welcoming the stranger. Double grew up with his siblings, Allen, Jerry, Betty and Fay, all of blessed memory, in the wild steel towns of Homeville/Homestead, and finally in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. His dad used to brag about being a “5 X millionaire!” to explain how much he adored his children.
At 18, Double met and married the love of her life, Ben Gross, a Hungarian “hand grenade”. Double has dedicated his life to helping Ben and his siblings, all Holocaust survivors, rebuild their shattered lives. She read and wrote for him. They raised four children: Cindy, Marcie, Howard (of blessed memory) and Michael. She and Ben were a team, and she quickly learned how to run a household and be a kosher butcher. Together they operated Ben Gross Kosher Meats on 5th Avenue in Pittsburgh until the late 1950s.
In time, Ben joined his brothers at Albee Homes in Youngstown, Ohio, and traveled the country while Mom devoted herself to maintaining the fort. In 1963, Ben accidentally got on a plane to Atlanta when he was planning to fly to Atlantic City to open a model home. He looked around and the brothers decided to invest in suburban real estate. In 1967, the family finally moved to Atlanta. Double persevered through the ups and downs of economic peaks and valleys managing family finances without ever losing her warmth and sense of humor. She always made sure the kids had money in their wallets and there were charity dollars at the front door even when money was very tight. She was an excellent manager of family finances and only had a high school diploma.
Double exemplified loving kindness (chesed) and created a warm and welcoming home in Atlanta. She taught us the importance of visiting the sick and the elderly, community involvement in meaningful ways that didn’t always attract attention, and she showed us the value of volunteering with a smile.
She really enjoyed bowling with her dear friend Helen Gerson (of blessed memory) and they were delighted to share their high scores and gutter balls. They loved their bowling league teammates and went out of their way to attend the end-of-season parties.
Double was a life member of Na’amat and served as president of the local on several occasions. She was named a Woman of Achievement by the Jewish Federation of Atlanta and was honored by SOJOURN for her dedication to supporting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
Lillian Sylvia Gross was predeceased by her husband, Ben, her beloved son Howard, and her beloved sisters and brothers. She is survived by Cindy Solomon, Marcie Koffler (Barry,) Michael Gross (Bryan) and Cathy Gross (Howard z’ll.) She will be missed by her beloved grandchildren Max (Jennifer,) Aaron (Chanyl,) Lucy (Michael, ) Zak (Luca,) Micah (Jason) and Caleb (Margalit) and the lights of his life, great-grandsons Charlie Hugo Gross and Pax Anic-Koffler. The funeral was held at 2 p.m. on November 8 at Crestlawn Cemetery in Atlanta. See DresslerJewishFunerals.Com. There will be a hole in our hearts but we will forever carry with us her spark, her love of life and people, and the kindness she taught us was so important in creating a lasting bond with others. We love you Double. PJC

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