Sgt. Douglas Gross

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sgt. Douglas A. Gross, 29, of Bemidji, Minn., formerly of Gordonville, was injured in a pedestrian-vehicular accident Dec. 28, 2010, in Bemidji. He passed away Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010, at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

He was born Sept. 20, 1981, in Cape Girardeau, to Richard and Sheila King Gross. He was baptized and confirmed at Christ Lutheran Church in Gordonville, where his membership still remained. He and Christie Meulebroeck were married July 23, 2005, in Dubuque, Iowa.

Doug was a 2000 graduate of Jackson High School, and attended Southeast Missouri State University. He entered the Army National Guard on April 7, 2003, with basic training at Fort Knox, Ky. He was assigned to the 1140th Engineer Battalion in Cape Girardeau. His unit was deployed to Iraq from February 2004 to February 2005. Doug served as a machinist and saw gunner in an imminent danger area.

After he and Christie married in 2005, they resided in Edina and Bemidji. Doug attended Dunwoody Technical to earn his machinist degree, and transferred to the 34th ID Unit. In 2009, three weeks from graduation, he was deployed to Iraq for a second tour from April 2009 to January 2010, this time working in food service logistics, and again in an imminent danger area.

Some of his awards include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon and two Overseas Service Ribbons.

Doug was an avid sports fan, but his preference was baseball. If he wasn't able to catch the televised games of the Cardinals and Chiefs, he was sure to catch their radio broadcasts. After marrying a Minnesotan, his secondary viewing options became the Twins and Vikings. He was an avid golfer and bowler, and enjoyed trying new sports such as snowboarding and fishing the Minnesota lakes.

Doug genuinely loved life. He was very outgoing and was often told he could bring a smile to anyone's face. He especially enjoyed spending time with his goddaughters, Ashley Steck and Ava Moran.

Doug's immediate family includes his beloved wife of five years, Christie, of Bemidji; parents, Rich and Sheila Gross; a brother, Marcus Gross; and paternal grandmother, Alberta Gross, all of Gordonville.

Christie's family includes her parents, Lyle and Joan Meulebroeck; siblings, Eric (Katie) Meulebroeck; Sara (Nathan) Moran and daughter Ava; all of Bemidji.

He is also survived by a paternal uncle, David Gross of Paola, Kan.; paternal aunt, Karen (David) Haupt of Egypt Mills; maternal aunt, Penny (Don) Wren of Egypt Mills; an aunt, Judy (Bob) Steck of Jackson; three cousins, Chris Friedrich of Kansas City, Mo., Casey Parrot of Cape Girardeau, Ashley Steck of Jackson; his best friend, Chris Freeman of St. Louis; his military family; numerous friends; and last but not least, his beloved pets, Kanga and Roo.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, Albert M. Gross; maternal grandmother, Mary Lou "Mi-Mi" King; and a maternal uncle, Robert N. King.

Friends may call from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday at McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Jackson, and from 9 a.m. to time of service Saturday at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Jackson.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the church, with the Rev. Gary Hoffstetter officiating. Burial will be in Christ Lutheran Cemetery at Gordonville, with full military honors.

In addition to the visitation and funeral in Jackson, the Rev. Genette Netland will officiate a memorial service at 3 p.m. Jan. 22 at Roseville Lutheran Church in Roseville, Minn.

Memorials may take the form of contributions to Hero's Way. Checks should be made payable to V.F.W. Post 3838 designated for Hero's Way in memory of Douglas A. Gross. They may be mailed to V.F.W. Post 3838, 1049 N. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701. Contributions may also be made to Wounded Warrior Project, 7020 AC Skinner Pkwy, Suite 100, Jacksonville, FL 32256. Please clearly mark donations "In Memory of Douglas A. Gross."

Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.mccombsfuneralhome.com.