James Gross passed away during his 95th year on Nov. 10, 2012. He was born on Oct. 26, 1918 on a Missouri River bottom farm in Howard County and grew up in the Victorian farm house on old Route 98 in Cooper County.
Visitation for Mr. Gross will be held at Davis Funeral Chapel on Tuesday evening, Nov.13, 2012 from 6:00 until 8:00 o'clock. Friends may call from noon until time of visitation. There will be a prayer service at 6:00 o'clock. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, Nov. 14th, with Father Bob Duesdieker officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery with full military honors.
Jim joined the Air Force during the Second World War and saw action in the European theater, flying some 40 bombing missions over Germany as part of a B17 crew. Three times his planes crash landed as a result of German fire, twice in the English Channel and once behind enemy lines in France. He was fished out of the freezing English Channel by Allied rescue vessels. When downed behind enemy lines the B37 crew jerry-rigged the plane and flew back to England the next night when they were almost shot down by Allied night fighters because they did not know the pass code for the day. Some fast talking convinced the fighters that the B17 was, in fact, manned by Americans. After each of these traumatic experiences Jim was debriefed after being served a shot of whiskey and then assigned to another B17 for more action. More relating to this part of Jim's life can be found on line at www.303ordbg.com/359morgan.htm1.
After the war Jim returned to Boonville and took up the peaceful profession of farming, which he had learned as a farm boy at the hand of his father, Barney Jacob Gross. In 1952 he acquired his first farm, which was situated along the Missouri River not far from where he had been born. His younger brother, Paul, became his business partner. Over the ensuing years the Gross brothers built up a farming business. Jim worked at his chosen profession until he was 92 years of age.
Mr. Gross was preceded in death by his parents, Barney Jacob Gross and Marie Stoecklein Gross, a brother, Charles Gross and sisters Mildred Gross and Kathleen (Sister Neria) Gross. Jim is survived by his brother, Paul Gross, and his sister, Louise Usher of Austin, TX as well as by nephews, Steve Usher and Mike Usher and nieces Christine Lower and Carol Roman.
Memorials are suggested to SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church.