Charmain Gross


Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2007

Former Juneau resident Charmain Jacquette Gross died July 11, 2007. She was 89.

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She was born June 6, 1918, in Long Beach, Calif., to Alonzo Victor and Besse J. Lewis.

Her father was the sculptor laureate for the state of Washington and was already creating his statues and paintings, which are visible throughout the state even today - one of her father's statues, The Prospector, sits today in front of the Pioneer Home in Sitka.

The entire family lived in Seattle, Wash., where she attended school, along with her older siblings, Maximillian and Dorian Lewis. Her high school years were spent enjoying parts in plays and singing in musicals and choir.

Just turning 18, she married Zalmain D. Gross, who was visiting briefly from the Territory of Alaska with his parents. They enjoyed a short honeymoon while sailing back to Juneau on July 9, 1936.

Soon, they had three children, David in 1937, Dorian in 1938 and Darleen in 1940. After 18 years of living in Alaska, she returned to California in 1954 to be near her mother, who was living in Sherman Oaks.

When her children had all let the nest, she took up her love, singing, again. She loved performing on stage, her family said. Although she had serious heart problems and many surgeries for more than 40 years, nothing could keep her away from her music and the many singing friendships she acquired during this time. She had many wonderful times singing with her friends until she was 84 and had a minor stroke in 2002.

In the last five years, she battled open-heart surgery for the third time and immense pain. After all her struggles, she still kept her special smile and love for friends and strangers who came to visit her, her family said.

She is survived by her son, William David Gross II, of Juneau; daughters, Dorian Lorena Morris, of Juneau, and Charmain Darleen Schutz; six grandchildren, William David Gross III, of Haines, Dorian Charmain Stagelund, of Juneau, Lee Zalmain Morris, Elizabeth Ann Couzin, Lisa Maureen Weber and Walter Todd Schutz; 10 great-grandchildren; great- grandson, 3-year-old Jackson Weber; and first cousin, Maridel Commageré and her son, Robin.

Internment was at Forest Lawn, Calif.

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