Freeman F. Gross Jr.

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  • "Freeman Frederick Gross "
    - Gene Meier
  • "Trey, very sorry for your loss. Freeman was one of a kind...."
    - Jim Rodman
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    - Bobby Walker
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Freeman F Gross Jr. of Van, Texas peacefully went to be with his Savior on Saturday, March 9, 2019 after a long illness. He was born on February 20, 1932 in St. Petersburg, FL to the late Freeman F. Gross Sr. and Leah Lynch Gross. He moved to his beloved Texas in 1944 and graduated from Odessa High School. After attending Odessa Jr College and studying petroleum engineering at Texas Tech, he began his 50 year career in the oil industry with Worth Well Surveys in Odessa.

Uncle Sam called and Freeman proudly served in the US Army from 1956-58 and specialized in the field of explosives, including work on atomic bombs in Nevada. Always the entrepreneur, Freeman was involved in many other business activities early in his career, including electronics, boat building and sales, and he and a business partner invented the patented "Beatle Bomb" fish calling device. In 1963, Freeman led a small crew of modern day pioneers to be the first to navigate up the Trinity River from the Gulf of Mexico to the industrial park between Dallas and Fort Worth on the Trinity Belle, a 24-foot aluminum barge. For the endeavor, Freeman and his crew were named Honorary Admirals of the Texas Navy by Gov. John Connolly.

Eventually, the calling of the oilfield brought Freeman back to the business that defined him to so many. He moved to Van in 1972, and for over 30 years operated his wire-line business in the Van oilfield. He was considered to be one of the most brilliant minds in the Texas wire-line community during this period.

Freeman loved his family, the City of Van, his pets and animals, and wildlife. He was very active in Van civic activities. He was a two time Van Chamber of Commerce President, a former Van Area Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year, the driving force behind the development of the Van Oil Festival, a member of the Van Economic Foundation, a founding director of the Van ISD Education Foundation, involved in local theater productions, parades, a huge supporter of Van schools and a lover of all Van Vandals sports. More than anything, he loved time spent with his family and loved to brag on his kids, grand-kids, and friends alike. He attended church some through the years, but most importantly, he accepted Jesus as his Savior at the rare and ripe age of 84.

Freeman was preceded in death by his parents, Freeman F Gross, Sr and Leah Lynch Gross. He is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Judy Gross; sister, Carol Middleton and husband, Chuck of Ft Worth; daughter, Marty Moore and husband, Len of Van; son, Trey Gross and wife, Dana of Tyler; son, Trey Shaid and wife, Heather of Edom; and grandchildren; Megan Moore, Macy Moore, and Brice Shaid; as well as nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to thank Heart to Heart Hospice and especially the staff of Van Healthcare nursing home. There are too many loving and attentive caregivers at Van Healthcare to mention, and out of concern of leaving anyone out, we won't list the individual names. But the family will forever be grateful for the kindness and heartfelt love you all showed Freeman and his family during the past few months. You all have no idea how much you mean to us!

At Freeman's request, his body was donated to the UT Southwestern Medical School of Dallas for the advancement of science and memory health. A celebration of life will be held at a later date and the details will be announced soon.

In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made to the Van Education Foundation.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on Mar. 13, 2019
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