Our dear mother and grandma, Audrey Gross, passed away on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in hospital surrounded by her loved ones. Audrey’s strength, resilience and sense of humour remained with her to the end. She fully embraced life over 90 years, focusing on her family, farm and fellowship.
Audrey Edith May was born on Nov. 5, 1932, in the Pincher Creek area, which she cherished as home for most of her life. Audrey was the fifth of six siblings born to Wes and Dora Thomas (née Vance) and grew up loving sports. “I wasn’t an academic in school. My favourite subjects were recess and phys-ed,” she said. Audrey excelled in ping-pong and baseball along with basketball, making the University of Calgary basketball team in 1950.
That year, she trained to become a teacher and taught in the Grassy Lake area for a short stint. It was there Audrey met her future husband, Ed Gross. They married in 1955 and started a life together in Lethbridge, followed by Calgary, before moving back to Pincher to take over the Thomas family farm. Ed and Audrey spent the next 40 years farming, ranching and raising kids before “retiring” to town in 2002.
Audrey believed “a family that plays together stays together.” Once the chores were done, there was time for fun, and Audrey’s enthusiasm for sports was passed on to her children. Her love of golf transcended generations as she played numerous rounds with her dad, her sisters and husband Ed, as well as her children and many grandchildren. A highlight came with a hole-in-one on the Pincher course.
Music was another mainstay in Audrey’s life. She enjoyed singing, dancing (especially with Ed) and listening to a variety of songs, favouring the old classics. Lawrence Welk was a must every Saturday. Audrey sang alto in the United Church choir, regularly volunteered for singalongs at Vista Village and Crestview Lodge, and participated in the singing group at Whispering Winds. She was always up for a sing-song at any gathering.
Spending time with others brought great joy to Audrey. In later years she became a card shark, playing crib, whist, bridge and canasta weekly. Many special friendships were developed, but family was “trump” with Audrey. Time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren was most important and usually involved a game, laughter and banter. Audrey always felt blessed to have family around her. She is forever in the hearts of her family.
Audrey is survived by her children: Craig (Carol), Nancy White (Ed), Kristine Johnson (Jim), Michael (Sherry)
Grandchildren: Andrew (Stacey), Dan (Melissa), Erin (Lincoln), Sabrina (Riley), Tanner, Tyler (Kim), Carissa (Chris), Connor, Landon (Taylor)
Great-grandchildren: Nathan, Grady, Jackson, Dylan, Arthur, Avery
Sister: Grace Fitzpatrick
Brothers-in-law: Ted Schuler, Brian (Joanne) Gross, Keith (Connie) Gross
As well as many nieces, nephews and extended family in the Pincher Creek area.
Audrey was predeceased by her husband, Ed Gross; parents Wes and Dora Thomas; sisters Bessie (Dave) Halton, Shirley (Ed) Mitchell, Jean (Ralph) Cleland; brother Bob (Shirley) Thomas; brothers-in-law George Fitzpatrick, Ted (Marge) Gross; and sister-in-law Jackie Schuler.
A celebration of life will be held in honour of Audrey at a later date.
The family sincerely thanks Dr. Tracy Burton, as well as the nurses and staff of Pincher Creek Health Centre, for the excellent care and support of Audrey.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Jack Ady Cancer Centre in Lethbridge.