Harvey Gross, 65, a longtime Oak Park resident, died suddenly on June 10, 2011. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., he attended the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio, where he earned a B.A. and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
A popular teacher at Providence-St. Mel, an inner-city Chicago high school that in 1978 became independent of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, he worked tirelessly and passionately to help the school raise the $150,000 it needed to keep its doors open.
He was also a dedicated member of West Suburban Temple Har Zion in River Forest. Rabbi Emeritus Victor Mirelman, a longtime friend, said "he was beloved by the membership [and] committed to his Jewish faith." Mr. Gross worked as executive director at the temple for 11 years, in addition to teaching in the religious school on numerous occasions.
He went on to teach at the Chicagoland Jewish High School in the history department.
Rabbi Mirelman explained that in addition to being a mentor to his students, he "developed a strong rapport with everybody he taught." Mr. Gross' profound impact on students and community members was evident during his moving funeral service, which attracted over 300 people, including family, temple members, former students and colleagues, and myriad others who mourned his loss.
Harvey Gross is survived by his brother, Lawrence (Ellen) Gross; his nieces and nephews, Jeremy, Marcia and Heather Gross and Melinda and Craig Smith; and his cousins, Ronald (Phyllis) and Ken (Carol) West and Janet (Ed) Aaronson.
Services were held on June 14 at West Suburban Temple Har Zion, 1040 N. Harlem Ave., River Forest, followed by interment at Glen Oak Cemetery.