Lawrence Bernard Gross, lieutenant colonel, retired, of Pierceton, died at home on May 21, 2022, at the age of 98.  

He was born near Warsaw, to Earl and Katie Pearl Ropp Gross on Aug. 19, 1923. He was the fourth child of seven children born into this family.  

After graduating from Pierceton High School in 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and entered flying school in San Antonio, Texas, where in 1944 he was commissioned a second lieutenant and received his pilot’s wings. After many assignments to various air bases, he retired as a lieutenant colonel in August 1970 as a command pilot with over 9,000 hours flying time. He was a decorated veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Of the many awards he received, those of which he was most proud were the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross), the Air Medal (Heroic/Meritorious Service) with three oak leaf clusters and the Bronze Star.

As a child in the 1920s, a teenager during the Depression, and a young adult during the 1940s, he was a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, an Air Force officer and a Christian. Lawrence embodied the values and strengths of the “Greatest Generation” and will be missed greatly by his family and all who knew him. His love for his country could only be rivaled by his love for his family and friends.   

Lawrence was an avid reader of history and aviation. He was a member of the Wounded Warrior Project. Lawrence was active in the United Methodist Church of Pierceton, serving on many committees. For several years, he had served as church treasurer and teacher for the adult Sunday School Class. Lawrence and Athalia celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary in June 2021.  

Lawrence is survived by his dearly beloved wife, Athalia; their children: daughter Mary Beth Esneault (spouse Jim), of Arizona; son, James Lawrence Gross (spouse Joyce), of Pennsylvania; grandchildren: Eva Marie Washburn, of Alaska; Joseph Lawrence Esneault, of Arizona; Jeremy Robert Orr, of Warsaw; and Jennifer Malia Flinn, of Silver Lake; great-grandsons: Braydon Washburn, of Alaska; and Hunter Jones, of Fort Wayne; and many loved nieces and nephews. Preceding him in death were his parents, Earl and Katie Pearl Gross; a sister, Neva Gross; and brothers, Robert Gross, of Missouri; Walter Gross, of California; Max Gross, of Warsaw; Bill Gross, of Utah; and Paul Gross, of Missouri.

Lawrence was a very caring and loving husband and father. The gifts he left us in the form of memories are many and he will be deeply missed by all.  

Military funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 26 at McHatton-Sadler Funeral Chapel, 105 S. 1st St., Pierceton, with visitation from 1 to 2 p.m. Revs. John Baughman and Carolyn Kern will give the message. Burial will be at Hillcrest Cemetery in Pierceton.  

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made online to the Wounded Warriors Project at www.support.woundedwarriorproject.org; or to the Animal Welfare League of Kosciusko County, 1048 S. 325 E., Pierceton, IN 46562 or www.awlwarsaw.com.