Arthur L. Gross Jr., 70, was born July 19, 1951, in Moberly, Missouri, to Arthur L.,Sr. and Fleeta (Smith) Gross. He made his peaceful transition 2 p.m., Friday, August 20, 2021, surrounded by his devoted and loving wife of 51 years, Connie, and several other family members, he said he was “tired” and wanted to go “home.” He was ready for his heavenly home.
In this eternal home, he has his legs and his own kidney -- but no diabetes. He’s walking on his own and singing in the heavenly choir.
Arthur married Connie Alderson on July 6, 1970. They were blessed with three children: Andale, Artrea and Andre.
Besides his wife and children, Arthur’s other survivors include his mother, Fleeta, aunt Shirley Ford, sisters Rose Ellen Gross and Vicki Sue Smith, and brothers Jeffery Gross and Terry Beverly, also surviving are his daughters-in-law Lisa and Jessica Gross, son-in-law Gregory Smith, six sisters-in-law, five brothers-in-law, and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
He also leaves his 10 grandchildren who were the joy of his life: Aja, Avery, Drake, Antrea, Aaralyn, Ariyonna, Alaina, Nya, Kyrin and Braelyn.
He was so excited and looking forward to the birth of his first great-granddaughter, Kinsley Jo, next month.
Arthur, also affectionately known as “A.J.,” “Ponch” and “Lenny,” never met a stranger. He loved people and always had a kind word and smile for everyone.
His welcoming presence was matched by his style. He liked to dress nice no matter the occasion and had an impressive collection of suits and ties, sports jerseys and T-shirts, and baseball caps.
He was an avid lover of cars, and many of his fondest memories were connected to them. It all started with his first car, a 1956 Pontiac that his aunt gave him. And from there, he stayed getting new cars over the years: a Chevy Impala, an American Motors Javelin, an American Motors Matador, an Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight, a Chevy Caprice, a Pontiac Bonneville.
In 2011, he started his run of Hyundai Sonatas. He kept all his cars as clean as the day he bought them.
He loved sports and was a superb athlete himself. He played Little League Baseball as a catcher on the championship Union Avenue team, both American League and National League.
At school, he ran track, played basketball and was a member of the band. He played the baritone horn. He graduated from Moberly Senior High in 1969.
As an adult, he played softball, taking to the field at Moberly’s Rothwell Park and traveling to other Missouri towns for tournaments.
He enjoyed watching professional and college sports. His favorite teams were the Los Angeles Lakers, Kansas City Chiefs, Missouri Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals.
His faith was important to him as well. He was a longtime member of Second Missionary Baptist Church in Moberly. He served as a deacon for many years, and he was a Sunday School teacher, first for the teens and later the seniors. He sang in the Gospel Celestial Choir and the Men’s Chorus and was a frequent soloist. With his sweet tenor, he knew how to interpret any tune and make it his own. Songs he led included “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” “Step In Jesus,” “Oh, Mary Don’t You Weep,” “Just Ask In the Name of Jesus,” “Jesus Is the Best Thing That Ever Happened Me,” and “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand,” which he sang at the end of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday program each year.
Arthur was hardworking. His first job was at Oakland Cemetery as a teenager cutting grass. He went on to work at Safeway bagging groceries.
As a young man, he worked as a car salesman at Hendren Motors and later was an electrician apprentice at Howerton Electric in Jefferson City.
Next, he worked for Peabody Coal Company at Thomas Hill for six years. From there he went to work for Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. at Thomas Hill as an engineering associate. Arthur surveyed coal pits and worked as a crew chief at AECI. He later became a revegetation technician, and his land reclamation work twice earned him national recognition from the U.S. Department of Interior.
He retired from AECI last year after a 41-year career.
He worked more than 20 years as a door greeter at Cater Funeral Home. He would welcome and greet everybody with love when they would come through the door for services. Bill and Sandy Stuart and the rest of the Cater “family” embraced him and treated him as their own. He was so happy he was able to attend the last years Christmas party.
Arthur loved to tell stories and joke and laugh with his family and friends. He also enjoyed listening to his favorite groups the Isley Brothers, O’Jays and Gap Band. Until the end, he could be found with his headphones on and playing his music.
He fought diabetes for years. Even with those challenges, his death was unexpected. He made his transition from a bed at Columbia’s Boone Hospital. He did it the same way he lived his life: peacefully, with dignity, without struggle, and surrounded by those he loved and who loved him.
The song “God Will Open Doors” was playing on his church pastor’s cellphone, and Arthur took his last breath as loved ones sang him home.
Words of comfort and support were shared with the family at a visitation in the Cater Funeral Home. Services honoring and celebrating Arthur's life were held at the Second Baptist Church. Committal prayer and burial followed in the Memorial Park Cemetery,