Photo Credit: The Steinfeldt Photography Collection of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest.

Here’s a photograph of a sketch that was performed by the members of the Mount Sinai Auxiliary. They were volunteers who waited tables at the hospital coffee shop, and made gifts for the hospital gift shop.

The year was 1951. I’ll bet you those women had a fantastic time together. I don’t know what other outlet one could have, when one wasn’t even known by her own name but by her husband’s.

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Here’s a photograph of the Mt Sinai Hospital Association Auxiliary leaders, circa 1950. The caption in whatever publication ran it, goes:

Left to right: Mrs. Louis Gross, Mrs. Charles Penarsky, and Mrs. Sima Meshbesher.

Speaking of Mrs. Louis Gross, things changed dramatically for her, I think, a few years later, if my romp through the web is right. Apparently, on Dec. 17, 1955, Louis L. Gross, 54, prominent Wisconsin Rapids businessman and president of Gross Common Carrier, Inc., died of a heart attack at 12:40 a.m., after being stricken while riding in an automobile on 2nd Ave. S.

Mr. Gross had abandoned his car when it ran out of gasoline on County Trunk GG in the town of Cranmoor. After walking some distance, he stopped a car on County Trunk J driven by Larry Winker, 19, Rt. 3, and asked for a ride to Wisconsin Rapids. Winker said that as they passed Memorial Armory on 2nd Ave. S., Mr. Gross began breathing heavily and slumped against him. The youth drove to the sheriff’s office, where Sheriff Arthur E. Berg summoned Dr. Harold G. Pomainville, Wood Counly coroner, who pronounced the stricken man dead of a heart attack. (Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, Saturday, December 17, 1955)

Photo: findagrave.com

So, Lillian Gross remained on her own until her passing, in 1983. That’s 30 years all alone. Also 30 years when they no longer called her Mrs. Louis Gross, I should hope.

Incidentally, Each year, the Leo and Lillian Gross Scholarship in Jewish Studies awards $1,000 to an undergraduate student pursuing a major or minor in Jewish Studies at the University of Minnesota. It’s not much, but every little bit helps.

This year the deadline to apply was April 5.

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