Alton F. Gross ’59 died on August 17, 2023, in Colfax, North Carolina.
(The following was provided by the Townes Funeral Home and Crematory on August 19, 2023)
Alton Frank Gross, MD, of Colfax, NC, and formerly of Danville, VA, passed away peacefully on Thursday, August 17th, 2023.
Al is survived by his loving wife of thirty-six years, Vicky H. Gross; and his three children: Steven E. Gross, MD (Debbie) of Tucson, AZ; Andrew J. Harris of Richmond, VA; and Emilea A. Gross (Jes) of Oak Ridge, NC. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Diane M. Gross, and his parents, Basil A. Gross and Leah C. Gross.
Al is also survived by his sister, Nancy G. Upton; his five grandchildren, Matthew and Alex Gross of Tucson, AZ; and Collins, Caroline, and Benjamin Gross of Oak Ridge, NC. Additionally, Al is survived by one nephew and his family of Bucksport, ME.
Born in Blue Hill, ME, on April 27, 1937, Al grew up in a family of strong faith, close family ties, and a deep commitment to professional excellence. In 1952 he became an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America (Troop 102), and in 1955 graduated from Bucksport High School where he was active on the debate team and even became state champion as a senior. He received his undergraduate degree (B.A., cum laude) from Bowdoin College in 1959 and his medical degree from Temple University in June of 1963, following which he entered the U.S. Army Medical Corps as an active-duty captain.
Al’s career in the military would span nearly a decade. After a rotating internship at Madigan General Hospital, U.S. Army, in Tacoma, WA, from 1963 to 1964, he studied the following orthopedic surgical residencies over the next four years: General Surgical at Walston Army Hospital, Fort Dix, NJ, Adult Orthopedic Surgery at William Beaumont General Hospital in El Paso, TX, and Children’s Orthopedic Surgery at Crippled Children’s Hospital in Phoenix, AZ. After completing residency, he was promoted to major and deployed to the 27th Surgical Hospital in Vietnam, where he served as orthopedic surgeon, then chief medical officer, and commanding officer for the remaining six months. Following the completion of this tour, for which he received the Bronze Star Medal, he returned to Walston Army Hospital, Fort Dix, NJ, where he served as Chief of Orthopedic Surgery for two years.
After passing his orthopedic certification boards in 1971 and receiving honorable discharge in the same year, Al moved to Danville, VA, the city where he would practice orthopedic medicine for nearly three decades, at the Danville Orthopedic Clinic and Danville Memorial Hospital.
During this time, he was active in several professional organizations: as a member of the Virginia State Orthopedic Association, member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery, founding member of the International Arthroscopy Association, charter member of the Arthroscopy Association of North America, president of the Danville-Pittsylvania Academy of Medicine, and a board member and chair of the Danville Speech & Hearing Center. Additionally, Al served as a member of the Rotary Club of Danville, president of the Westover Hills Volunteer Fire Department, and as assistant scout master for the Boy Scouts. He was a long-time, active member of Trinity United Methodist Church. In 2019, Al and Vicky moved to Colfax, NC, to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren.
Al enjoyed traveling and spending time with his family; reading both fiction and non-fiction; and gardening his lawn, flowers, and vegetables. Some of his most memorable vacations involved exploring the Big Island of Hawai’i and traveling the American West with his family, as well as hunting with his friends Charles “Smitty” Smith, Walt Deyton, Tom Harvey, Paul Harkins, Jim Turner, and Jim Bradley.