Called ‘Champion of the Homeless,’ former Union Station leader memorialized
Published : Friday, November 8, 2019 | 2:03 PM
Hundreds of friends and colleagues packed the Pasadena Jewish Center Friday for the funeral service for Rabbi Marv Gross, retired CEO of Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena.
Rabbi Gross passed away on Tuesday night in Pasadena after a brief illness at the age of 72.
Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek and Councilmember Margaret McAustin were among the mourners, along with scores of other civic leaders, those affiliated with Union Station Homeless Services, and activists with causes supported by Rabbi Gross.
Rabbi John Carrier and Cantor Ruth Berman Harris presided over the hour-long ceremony.
Friends and family members spoke.
Younger brother Richard told a whimsical story about being with Marv on the set of the “Howdy Doody” TV show in the late 50s. When Howdy asked if there were any twins in the audience, Marv clasped his hand firmly across young Robert’s mouth, and dragged him onto the stage. They, of course, were not twins, but Howdy Doody was never the wiser.
“He had a complex sense of humor,” said his former seminary professor Rabbi Phil Cutter.
Gross’ son, Daniel, recounted how he and his sisters all have “tried to serve others” in their professional careers.
“It came naturally to us,” he said, because of his father’s teachings.
Before the service, Occidental College professor and local activist Peter Dreier talked about how Rabbi Gross showed his compassion and a sense of justice in other ways.
“There was a diner we would visit regularly, and it was mostly a greasy spoon, and the food was not great, but they paid their staff well,” said Dreier, “and Marv wanted to acknowledge that.”
Mayor Tornek called Gross a “gentle warrior for social justice,” adding, “Pasadena will miss him, and so will I.”
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.
Shiva will be held on Saturday, November 9 at 7 p.m. at the Pasadena Jewish Temple Center, 1434 Altadena Blvd., Pasadena