Brian Gross

Brian Peter Benjamin Gross

1955 - 2019

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Obituary of Brian Peter Benjamin Gross


  Born with a bright and inquisitive mind, Brian was a man who made things work. From train sets to ham radios to electrical circuits, microwaves and measurement instruments, Brian mastered an increasingly complex and sophisticated world of electronics.

   He delighted in music and was a Beatles early adopter--showing youthful insight and savvy when he bought the iconic Meet the Beatles album the day it was released in 1964. In high school, Santana Abraxas blasted full volume from his basement bedroom, shaking the floorboards and astonishing his younger sister when she noticed the cover art. A jazz connoisseur, Brian had a deep knowledge and appreciation for that art form. From Thelonious Monk to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck, Cassandra Wilson and Ahmad Jamal, he loved mainstream and avant garde in syncopated measure.

   Brian accomplished a great deal in life. Early successes included a newspaper route back when such things existed, excelling in customer service and earning undying loyalty—not to mention generous tips and treats-from neighbors. Intrigued by late-night sci fi and horror TV, he created a tongue-in-cheek version of The Blob and together with his high school best friend performed a variety of vignettes to scare trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. He built a backyard treehouse and eventually deeded it over to his younger brother for the extravagant sum of $1. It will surprise no one to learn that Brian was an Eagle Scout, personifying those strong values throughout his life. Brian was always someone you could count on.

   Graduating from Oregon State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder (his parents’ alma mater) with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively, in electrical engineering, he was well-equipped to build a permanent career for himself in northern California. He set up a bachelor pad in Cupertino and soon took up windsurfing. He worked for such corporations as Ball Industries, Hewlett-Packard, Agilent and Next Level. His last workplace was at National Instruments where he was a highly-regarded expert.  

   Thirty-four years ago, he met the love of his life--Fredrika Schwaber--at a Mensa party. Their wedding at a local winery was a great celebration. In the heady glow, Fredrika even forgave him for accidentally letting go of a celebratory balloon bouquet that had been worked on for hours the night before. Brian’s intellectual peer and fun companion, Fredrika brought great joy to his life as the two built their path together as a married couple. From a warm and welcoming home in Santa Rosa, they explored the world--traveling to Hawaii, Mexico, Disneyland and Scotland (where he indulged first-hand his taste for expensive Scotch whiskey). But perhaps their most rewarding journey together was also the one they loved the most: parenthood.

   In 1996, Brian’s joy reached new heights with the birth of beautiful brown-eyed Sophia. Brian adored their daughter. He talked about her often, beaming at her successes and laughing at her antics. When she took to swimming like, well, a fish takes to water, Brian leaped in too--happily officiating at her competitions even when they meant driving from one end of northern California to the other, before dawn no less. Brian was especially proud of Sophia’s pursuit of higher education. And just last May, Brian walked Sophia down the aisle. Our family is grateful that Brian was able to see his daughter happily married.

   As a family, our only regret is that Brian’s life was cut short so unexpectedly and we are still reeling from the sudden shock. We love and miss him deeply and always will.

   Brian is survived by his wife Fredrika, daughter Sophia and son-in-law Tom Pettid, mother Kathy Gross, sister Tanya Gross, brother Kevin and sister-in-law Eden Jamison, sister-in-law Lisa Schwaber, and nephews and nieces Nick Jamison, Annie Jamison, Kate Jamison and Ben MacKinnon. He is predeceased by his father, Lyle Gross.

   Gifts in remembrance may be sent to Lily Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary, North Bay Veterans Resource Center or Congregation Beth Ami.

   Funeral service on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. at Eggen & Lance Chapel; 1540 Mendocino Avenue, following burial at Santa Rosa Memorial Park; 1900 Franklin Avenue in Santa Rosa. 

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