John Gross, of Medford, passed away April 30, 2019, at his home.
Mass of Christian Burial is set for 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 6, at Christ the King Catholic Church in Medford. Friends may greet the family from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at the Medford Funeral Home, 310 East Central Avenue. Their will be a 5 p.m. Knight of Columbus Rosary on Sunday at the funeral home. The vVisitation will continue from 9:30 a.m. to 10:20 a.m. Monday at the funeral home followed by a procession to the church.
John Francis Gross was born Jan. 7, 1942, in Carroll, Iowa, to Ed and Rose Margaret (Schmitz) Gross. In 1949, the family moved to Minnesota, where John attended a one-room school between Hayfield and Blooming Prairie. He graduated from Hayfield High School in 1960 and earned his Bachelor of Science in history and physical education from St. Thomas in 1964.
While in college, John participated in football and basketball. He completed his Master of Science in Minnesota History from Mankato State University in 1971. John started teaching and coaching at Faribault Bethlehem Academy the fall of 1964 and moved to Medford High School four years later. He spent the next 29 years teaching social studies, driver education, coaching varsity football, and for 18 years, he was girls varsity assistant basketball coach. It was during this time Pat Heger joined the staff at Medford. John and Pat were married June 27, 1981. That fall the Tiger football team finished the season undefeated and won the Minnesota State High School Class “C” State Championship.
John was the recipient of numerous coaching honors and awards. He was named Minnesota State Class “C” coach of the Outstate Team in the 1982 High School All Star football game. Thirty years later, he served as a “honorary” coach for the South team in the high school All Star Football Game. He was elected to the Executive Board of the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association in 1983 and serviced as the president of that organization in 1995 to 1996. John also led the Tigers to the state quarterfinals against Sherburne in 1986, the state semifinals against Rushford in 1988 and to the state quarterfinals against Waterville a year later. From 1991 to 1995, he represented the boys sports coaches as a voting member of the Region 2 activities committee and coordinated the Region 2 state football playoffs.
When John retired as head football coach in 1996 season his record was 158 wins and 127 losses. Included were two undefeated teams, four Gopher Conference Championships, three section titles and a Minnesota State Championship. In his honor, the Medford boosters established the “John Gross Memorial Scholarship” awarded annually to a graduating senior football player.
Beginning in 1997, John coached at St. Olaf College in Northfield for five seasons as offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator. He then returned to Faribault B. A. from 2012 to 2015. Three of those years, the Cardinals participated in the State Football Tournament. John was inducted into the Minnesota Football Coaches Association “Hall of Fame” in 2001 as well as Medford first Hall of Fame class in 2017. He received the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Minnesota Football Coaches Association in 2016.
John was a founding member of the Medford Historical League and an active member of the Minnesota and Steele County Historical Societies. He has authored five books on local history topics, two on Medford history. His “ANOTHER TIME” historical column was popular in several area newspapers. John served five years on the Medford Board of Education and enjoyed attending Medford school events.
John and Pat were faithful members of Christ the King Catholic Church. They loved to travel, visiting every state in the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii. During his lifetime, John touched countless lives in so many positive ways. His friendly smile and lively personality were always on display.
John will be missed by his wife, Pat; his brother, Bill (Sheree) Gross; sister-in-law, Jeanne Lundak; and many nieces and nephews, relatives and friends. John is preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Rose; brother, Don; and sisters, Carol (Fran) Langenfeld and Jeanne Gross.
To leave a condolence message, go to www.medfordfuneralhome.com.