Jean A (Groff) Gross

Born on September 2, 1930 in Girard, Pennsylvania
Departed November 30, 2023 in Melbourne, Florida

Jean A (Groff) Gross, 93, passed away peacefully at home in Melbourne, Florida on November 30, 2023 when she joined her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She was born on September 2, 1930 in Girard, Pennsylvania, daughter of the late Stephen Groff and Alice Worner.

She was preceded in death by her husband Leo B. Gross; her son Orie Wilson; and companion Philip Schick.

Survivors include her daughter Rebecca Marshall and her husband, John; son John Gross and his wife, Angela of Melbourne, Florida; sister Bonnie Wagner and her husband Edward, of North East, Pennsylvania; brother John Worner and his companion Sandra, of Erie, Pennsylvania; 7 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews and 3 beloved dogs, Scout, Penny, and Max who took very good care of her.

Jean was a 1948 graduate of Millcreek High School in Erie, Pennsylvania. She worked one summer as a fountain attendant (soda jerk) at a popular drugstore. She and the other soda jerk had contests to see who could carry the most containers of ice cream from the store room. During busy times, they just threw the money on the counter to make change as needed; no time for a cash register. On one occasion, the whipped cream container broke and there was whipped cream pouring out all over. She gave all the patrons a spoon and soon all of the whipped cream was cleaned up, in a manner of speaking.

During high school and for a short time afterward, Jean was apprenticed with a dentist as his assistant, learning the basic skills that she would employ later. Jean also worked at the Erie Boston store as a milliner, specializing in bridal veils. She would make sketches from descriptions given by customers, design and sew beautiful veils. She told of a young lady who was getting married but couldn’t afford a bridal veil, so Jean used what materials she had on hand and made the young bride a veil at no cost.

She was Seaman Apprentice in the US Navy, serving from 1950 to 1951 during the Korean Conflict where she was a dental technician, continuing in that field for the next 17 years. As a young lady, Jean was an exceptional artist in pen and ink, enjoyed singing with her family, and was an avid reader, spending long hours at the public library.

Jean was married for a short time to Orie F. Wilson and went on to raise her 2 children, “Little Orie” and Rebecca as a single parent. In 1963, she met and married Chief Petty Officer Leo Gross, who was active duty in the US Coast Guard. Over the next 6 years, they were stationed in New York and Illinois, with the family living in Rochester and Buffalo and then Skokie and Mundelein where son, John, was born in 1968. After the untimely death of Leo in 1969, Jean moved back to Erie as a single parent again. She sold real estate in the Erie area until 1978 when she moved with young John to Melbourne, Florida.

Jean continued to sell real estate in Brevard County and met Philip Schick, who became her companion for the next 35 years. They formed a business, “Honey Bunch Products”, selling pecans & orange blossom honey, bean soup mix, as well as other products in their own store, at flea markets, to Disney, and other local businesses. Jean and Phil loved to travel, as evidenced by her many photo albums of Europe, Mexico, Japan, and all over the US. They were avid golfers, and Jean was a member of the Ladies Golf Club at Patrick AFB and a member of the “Fearsome Foursome”. Some of her favorite mementos include a trophy from the Fruit Salad Open in 1981, her “hole-in-one” ball from Okinawa, and a picture of her and Arnold Palmer, which she kept on her dresser.

More recently, Jean attended Oceanside Community Church and was active in the Women’s Ministry using her creative talents making crafts for the annual Christmas Bazaar. Anyone who knew Jean knew that she was always smiling, giving hugs, and never had a complaint or cross word to anyone. She shared many words of wisdom passed on to her from her grandparents, the late William (Steve) and Golda Stevens, of Erie Pennsylvania. Jean was a friend to everyone, and to every child she was “Oma”.

A Memorial Service will be held at Oceanside Community Church at 305 Cassia Blvd. Satellite Beach, Florida, on Friday, January 5, 2024 at 3:00pm.

Memorials may be made to Jean’s favorite charities; Guiding Eyes for the Blind (, or St Joseph’s Indian School (

Guiding Eyes for the Blind
St. Joseph’s Indian School

Guestbook Entry

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4 entries.
Terry and Dorothy Lawrence from VERO BEACH wrote on January 4, 2024:
I will always remember her laugh and that great smile. I Loved her stories when I was young in Pennside, she will be missed.
Courtkne Kazee from Columbia wrote on December 6, 2023:
I love you Oma. I am so glad I got to be your granddaughter and not only that but that you got to meet your great grandson. We will miss you but I know you’re where you belong. We all love you and will miss you. I can’t wait to tell Harvey about you. Rest easy.
Rita Ragoza from Madison wrote on December 6, 2023:
To me Jean was my mother— not just “ my other mother” Over many years she departed so much wisdom to me in various avenues of life. Walked with me through some of the most difficult times of my life: turning sweet 16 and living with her in Erie, changing majors in college, working through my beloved dogs death, attending my first marriage that ended in divorce and supporting me through trials in my second marriage. Always a sweet kind word. To my kids she is Oma! RIP Mom
Laura-Jean Gross from Lakeland wrote on December 6, 2023:
This is amazingly worded. Oma was loved by all and this captures so many wonderful stories!
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