Rev. Dr. Charles N.  Gross


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Danvers - The Rev. Dr. Charles N. Gross, Pastor Emeritus of Maple Street Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Danvers, Mass., died on July 30, 2019, at the age of 77. He was the son of the late Charles and Sadie (Cornatzer) Gross.
Chuck, as he preferred to be called, grew up amid the dirt roads and tobacco farmlands of rural North Carolina. Encouraged by a traveling library, the county bookmobile, he devoured every book available and, in the process, acquired a life-long love of reading and education. With various scholarships awarded along the way, Chuck graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, received a Master of Divinity degree from Hartford Theological Seminary, attended the Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies in Celigny, Switzerland, under the aegis of the World Council of Churches and the University of Geneva, and later returned to Hartford Seminary, a national leader for interfaith dialogue, to earn the Doctor of Ministry degree. "My life has been blessed beyond measure by the people who supported me and helped me pursue my dreams," Chuck was often heard to say.
Dr. Gross was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 1969, and his ministry encompassed 40 years, beginning with campus ministry at the University of New Hampshire and associate pastor of the Community Church in Durham, N.H. In 1978, he became pastor of the Community Church in Mountain Lakes, N.J., and in 1986 was selected as the 16th Senior Minister of Maple Street Church in Danvers. Upon his retirement 2008, the Church established in his honor the Rev. Dr. Charles N. Gross Scholarship to help deserving students pursue their dreams.
In each ministerial setting Chuck was active in interfaith programs, worship services and clergy associations. For many years he was a member of the Danvers Community Council and the Council on Aging. Known to be a strong advocate of social justice and human rights, Chuck gave the keynote address on the first (2001) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dinner in Danvers and received the Drum Major for Justice Award presented by the town's Diversity Committee. Eight years later he was again honored by the Diversity Committee with the Keeper of the Flame Award for his support of tolerance and diversity. Chuck supported several peace and justice organizations, two important ones being the Southern Poverty Law Center and Amnesty International.
Continuing education was a life-long passion for Chuck, with many courses taken at the Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center in Bangor, Pa. In addition, he was affiliated with the Iona Community in Scotland and the World Council of Churches in New York and Switzerland. Other interests included reading, gardening, walking, tennis, and his faithful companions through the years-miniature poodles Larka, Kia, and Simone.
Chuck is survived by his loving wife Kathleen with whom he shared 44 years of marriage; a son Brian Gross (and daughter-in-law Lynn) of Haverhill; two daughters, Kristy Moloney (and son-in-law Ronan) of Ancramdale, N.Y., and Leanne Heller (and son-in-law Jonathan) of Newburyport; four grandchildren, Aoife and Saoirse Moloney and Maddox and Jessica Heller; a brother Terry Gross of Concord, N.C.; five nieces and four nephews.

Relatives, friends and colleagues are invited to the Reverend Doctor Charles N. Gross's funeral service, which will be held in the Maple Street Congregational Church, 90 Maple St., Danvers, Tuesday, August 13, at 11 a.m. The committal service will be private. Visiting hours omitted. Please do not send flowers. In Rev. Gross's memory and honor, memorial contributions/donations can be made to the Rev. Charles N. Gross Scholarship Fund, c/o Maple Street Church, 90 Maple St., Danvers, MA 01923, or to the charity of one's choice. Assisting the family with the arrangements is the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home, 167 Maple St. (Route 62), Danvers. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit
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Published on August 6, 2019
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3 posts

Maryann Kowalski
Aug 14, 2019
My sincere sympathr to the family. I am sorry I was unable to attend thefuneral. He will be missed.
Juanita Arrington
Aug 07, 2019
So sorry to hear of Chuck passing. He was always an inspiration to my family.
Pamela Saul
Aug 06, 2019
Dr. Gross officiated at my wedding in May of 1989. It was his first interfaith marriage. My being protestant and my husband Jewish; he encouraged us to take his sermon and combine it with the Jewish sermon to make it our own service. He was a pleasure to work with throughout that ordeal. A week after my wedding he visited me in the hospital when I broke my arm and made me laugh. He was an important part of my grandmothers life with the church and when she was in a nursing home and to her funeral - he went and visited and made the family at ease with her passing.

Dr. Gross will be missed but will always be a part of our life every time we watch the video of our wedding.

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...and thoughts are with you his family and please know that he will always be remembered with great respect.Read more