James Raymond Gross

1936 - 2022


With great sadness, our beloved and most precious head honcho, James (Jim) R Gross, 86, passed away the morning of May 7, 2022 at home in Helena, surrounded by his wife and five children.

Jim, the oldest of three, was born in Helena to Fredrick and Evelyn Gross on April 7th, 1936. He attended grade school at Kessler Elementary, graduated from Cathedral High in 1954 and was a standout basketball player for the “Greenies”. He was multifaceted and not only was the Sports...

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Please note
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 12:00 PM on Wednesday, May 25th at the Cathedral of St. Helena. A luncheon will immediately follow in the Brondel Center (basement) of the Cathedral.
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Paul Stahl

May 15, 2022 5:55 PM

The measure of a man . . . In the 1980’s, Jim Gross was a teacher and the boys’ basketball coach at Helena High. I was a member of the school board. Knowing that the Board would never fire a coach because of his record, a group of parents decided to petition the Board to terminate Coach Gross’s contract for other reasons. (Their petition did not state that their real concerns were about a losing season, or that their kids were not playing enough, or that Coach Gross’s offense was not giving opportunity to “college bound” players to score points.) The petition, instead, raised questions about the treatment of his players, raised questions about his fairness to the players, raised questions about his lack of discipline. None of that was true, of course. But the clinching moment for me was when a mother testified that her son had only played two minutes the entire season and that was unfair. Thereafter, in discussion with the Board, Coach Gross related that the mother had approached him prior to tryouts in the fall and asked that he not cut her son. She explained to Coach Gross that he was her son’s father figure, and that playing basketball for Coach Gross was the only thing that would keep her son out of jail. (Noteworthy is that prior to his appearance before the Board, Coach Gross had never told anyone about the mother’s request.) Coach Gross further related that the son had no basketball skills, whatsoever, but he kept the boy as one of 10 members of the team. He further explained that if he had played the boy, the boy would have been humiliated. Coach Gross refused to do that despite the whispers and public criticism. The rest of the story, of course, is that Coach Gross was not terminated. Two state championships and his players, boys and girls alike, loved him. The measure of a man . . .
He was my friend. My having taught and coached before law school must have convinced him to let this old coach participate as staff at his summer camps. So thank you Jim and Godspeed on your new journey.

John Cherie Dahl

May 15, 2022 4:48 PM

Jim was a friend for many years and not only an outstanding coach but an outstanding man. Thoughts and prayers go out to the family 🙏

Marla Swanby

May 15, 2022 4:35 PM

Jim Gross was one of my favorite high school teachers. Lisa Smigaj, Brenda Largis, Teri Thomas and I used to call him Papa Gross. He tolerated us. Every Friday we would leave his class and tell him we wouldn't be home until after midnight. He would respond with, "If you are a minute late. The lights will be off and the doors will be locked." He made high school a wonderful place. My thoughts and prayers go out to you all. 

Jim Wilcox and Sally

May 15, 2022 1:34 PM

You were a great man Jim. My Jim knew you through school and Jay, I knew you more through church. It’s always a pleasure to see you a crossover in the pew where you always sit. I looked over there this morning and made me sad. But you are now in a better place with our Lord. Our love to you and your family Sandra.

A Memorial Tree was planted for James Raymond Gross

May 12, 2022 11:20 AM
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