Published : Wednesday, November 6, 2019 | 2:23 PM
Rabbi Marvin Gross of Sierra Madre passed away on Tuesday night in Pasadena following a brief illness at the age of 72.
Rabbi Gross was formerly the longtime CEO of Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena. He retired in 2015.
“While terribly saddened by his death, we are heartened by the strong legacy he has left,” said Anne Miskey, Chief Executive Officer of Union Station, who announced his passing. “Through his kindness, humility, humanity and fierce defense of those most vulnerable in our community, he saved 1000?s of lives and his work will continue.”
Gross’s 21 years at the helm of Union Station Homeless Services saw him lead the agency through an unprecedented period of growth.
Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said he was acquainted with Gross both professionally and as fellow congregant at Pasadena Jewish Temple.
“He was an extraordinary man,” Tornek said. “He had a big heart and he really was able to move people without a lot of drama, but in a soft-spoken, reasonable way, and made them understand that we all have a stake in helping those who are the least fortunate.”
“I’ll miss him,” Tornek said.
Tornek also pointed to the lasting tribute to Rabbi Gross that is “Marv’s Place,” an affordable housing project in Pasadena for people who formerly were homeless. The project is named after Marvin Gross.
Former Mayor Bill Bogaard also expressed his sympathy in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon:
“With the passing of Rabbi Marvin Gross, Pasadena lost a pioneer in the field of homelessness. Starting 40 years ago, almost alone, he created a culture of thoughtful and humane services to the homeless that has gained widespread respect and incredibly generous support. His leadership has inspired the people of Pasadena.”
Rabbi Gross is survived by his brother, Richard (Roberta) Gross, sister, Frances Schnall, his beloved children; Tara Rangarajan, Daniel (Anu) Gross, and Becky (Austin) Gross, their mother, and their Lynn Winter Gross. Rabbi Gross is also survived by his three adored grandchildren; Ari and Eli Rangarajan and Anisha Gross and numerous nieces and nephews.
Rabbi Gross was born in Evanston, Illinois, was educated at Amherst College, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
After leading Temple Sinai in Glendale, California for many years, he became an executive of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
In 1995, he was appointed the Executive Director and CEO of Union Station Homeless Services.
Prior to his death, Rabbi Gross was active in a variety of social justice organizations in the greater Los Angeles area.
Rabbi Gross was predeceased in death by his parents; Jacob and Rita Gross and his adored brother, Howard.
Rabbi Gross was an avid sailor and since his retirement devoted his energies to immigration rights and mentoring executives.
Services will be held Friday, November 8 at 9:30 a.m. at Pasadena Jewish Temple Center, 1434 Altadena Blvd., Pasadena. Shiva will be held at the Pasadena Jewish Temple Center at 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 9.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Union Station Homeless Services.