KATHLEEN S. GROSS, Esq., a retired attorney, former teacher and avid quilter, died Sunday, July 18, in Charleston, W.Va., after an 18-year battle with endometrial cancer. She was 75. Kathy was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to William Alexander and Katherine Comerford Strange, and grew up in Philadelphia, Pa. She was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Elizabeth “Susie” Strange; and her husband of 50 years, Bert Gross. After graduating from St. Hubert’s Catholic High School, Kathy went to Temple University. There, she joined the debate team, where she met her husband, Bert. Kathy received a bachelor’s degree in education from Temple, then went on to complete a master’s degree in education at SUNY Buffalo. She taught school in Philadelphia, Pa., Buffalo, N.Y., Athens, Ga., and at St. Joe’s in Huntington, before taking a position with Catholic Community Services in Hamlin, W.Va., as a social worker and advocate. In her late 30s, Kathy made the decision to go back to school and fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming an attorney. After graduating from the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University in 1986, Kathy worked briefly for Jackson Kelly and as a law clerk for West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Richard Neely. Several years later, Kathy shifted her focus to court administration, combining her passion for law and education to become the Deputy Director of Judicial Education and eventually the Deputy Administrative Director for the West Virginia State Supreme Court. During the course of her work with the judicial system, Kathy became friends with many of the Supreme Court Justices and circuit court judges around the state. Through her work, she visited the county seat in each of the state’s 55 counties at least once. As a child, Kathy showed an early talent for sewing. She enjoyed making clothes for herself and her family, which led to a lifelong love affair with the fabric arts. Eventually, Kathy took up machine embroidery and quilting and was particularly proud to have had several quilts and wall hangings chosen for display at the West Virginia Cultural Center over the years. This year, Kathy has two quilts on display. Along with close friend Lynn Gray, Kathy was a volunteer organizer for Ryan’s Case for Smiles. Together with friends in several local quilting guilds, Kathy and Lynn collected, made and distributed innumerable colorful, hand-made pillowcases to children’s hospitals in the region. Kathy loved to play tennis, and played in tournaments and teams around the region for many years. The Public Courts tournament was a particular tradition for Kathy and Bert, until health issues intervened. Kathy was also an avid traveler, particularly with husband Bert. Together they visited over 30 countries, 48 states and every continent, including Antarctica. In retirement, Kathy also enjoyed playing bridge, and was glad to have had the chance to continue playing virtually through the pandemic, thanks to the drive and passion of local organizers. Kathy was an active member of Ascension Church in Hurricane, W.Va., and served on the board of Catholic Community Services for many years. Kathy will be deeply missed by her children, David Gross of Portland, Oregon, and Elizabeth Gross of Huntington; her brothers and sisters-in-law, Bill and Anne Gross of Annandale, Virginia, Barbara and Bob Tommasone of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gary and Bonnie Gross of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; her niece, Carolyn Mollen; her nephews, Stephen Tommasone, Doug Tommasone, Kevin Gross, Eric Gross, Tim Gross and Brian Gross; great-nieces, Penny Mollen and Ephie Toth; her papillon, Noble; and many other friends, family and neighbors. The family expresses profound thanks to the many medical professionals who provided care to Kathy throughout her 18-year battle, particularly to Dr. Schiano, his staff and associates. The family is also incredibly grateful to many neighbors and friends who helped Kathy remain independent even as her illness progressed, especially Debbie and Bob Gibson, Maria Galford, Jan Cook and Lynn Gray. A Funeral Mass will be held at the Church of the Ascension in Hurricane, West Virginia, on Saturday, July 31, at 11 a.m., with Father Bill Matheny. Friends may gather to remember Kathy an hour prior to the service. The family has requested no flowers. Donations may be made in Kathy’s honor to Catholic Charities of West Virginia (https://catholiccharitieswv.org) or to the Charleston-Huntington Chapter of Ryan’s Case for Smiles (https://caseforsmiles.org/; please be sure to specify the local chapter). After the Mass, the family invites friends and family to gather at the family home for a celebration of Kathy’s life. To protect the vulnerable, the family requests that only those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 attend the service in person. Chapman Funeral Home, family-owned and located at 3941 Teays Valley Road, Hurricane, W.Va., is assisting the family. You may visit her tribute page at www.chapmanfuneralhomes.com to share your condolences.
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