Douglas Raymond Gross, age 85, died May 23 surrounded by close family.
Doug was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Sept. 13, 1935. He was the fifth son born to William and Viola (Hayser) Gross, but was raised by his aunt and uncle, James and Dorothy McLaughlin, following the death of his mother at childbirth.
Doug grew up in Newaygo, Michigan, graduating from Newaygo High School in 1953. Further education included a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in counseling from Western Michigan University, in addition to a doctorate in psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
On Aug. 8, 1959, Doug married the love of his life, Lola (DeLong) Gross. They held parallel careers in education in Arizona. Upon their retirement in the late 1990s, they returned to Lola’s hometown, Three Rivers, Michigan, where they were active and engaged in the community and served on numerous boards. After retirement, Doug was a consultant for Carondolet Management for 14 years, conducting workshops throughout 25 states in the area of grief and bereavement.
Doug’s professional work history included public school teaching and administration in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, Michigan, and 29 years as a professor of counseling and counseling psychology at Arizona State University (ASU). He chaired the ASU Counseling Department and ushered countless graduate students through their doctorates and into their professions as counselors, psychologists, treatment professionals and beyond.
As noted by Chris Packard, “Doug’s death leaves a deep hole in my heart after a friendship of nearly 30 years which began when I was a graduate student at ASU. He is a person who did so much good in this world with his many gifts and talents, especially with his gentle kindness and his deep commitment to bringing goodness into the lives of every person he touched.”
Doug served as a co-author and co-editor for 25 editions of textbooks. His texts are translated widely into numerous languages and have served thousands of college students in the field throughout the world. “Doug was my friend, confidant and mentor for 45 years and was co-author and editor with me on numerous books, the most well-known of which is Youth at Risk,” said David Capuzzi, a past president of the American Counseling Association. “He was a superb writer and knew how to give gentle feedback when needed.”
Doug retired as professor emeritus from ASU in 1997. After Doug and Lola moved to Three Rivers, he was an active member of the Three Rivers Lions Club, did extensive volunteer training and work with Three Rivers Hospice, participated in several bridge groups, and spent time with friends and family. His interests included international travel, cruises, volunteer work, classic old films, book editing and reading. He particularly loved London (and London theatre in the West End), which he and Lola visited frequently. Doug cultivated long, meaningful, close relationships with a vast, lifelong network of friends, colleagues, students and former students, and family. He had a way of making everyone feel fully accepted and special.
As Nancy Hardy Woodward shared, “Doug had an intelligent and keen sense of humor, but his wit was never hurtful or mean-spirited. His astute observations in both business and social settings revealed a man who accepted the differences and values of close friends as well as casual acquaintances.”
Many members of ACA knew and admired Doug because of his many contributions to the association and the profession. He was a state branch president, chaired the Western Region of ACA, was president of the Association for Humanistic Counseling, was a member of the ACA Governing Council, served as treasurer of ACA and chaired many ACA committees and task forces.
Bernadine Craft remembers, “I first met Doug Gross when I was a young president of the Wyoming Counseling Association nervously attending my first ever Western Region meeting. Doug told me he was president of the Mossback, aka Formerly Famous, Club and that when I had been around as long as he had, I too could be a Mossback. Doug was the consummate professional sharing not just knowledge, but also, humor, friendship, compassion and the joy that comes with loving life. If that is a Mossback, I want to be one too.”
Maureen Knapp, the niece who looked after Doug during the years after his wife, Lola, died, shared, “He was a very special, gentle soul. His absence will be deeply felt by his family. He was more of a dad to me, and he and Lola grandparents to my daughters, Liza and Marlo, than he was an uncle.”
Said Capuzzi when learning of Doug’s death: “Doug was a lifelong friend, and we spoke on the phone every two weeks for 45 years. I doubt I could have published, become an ACA president, etc., without his support, mentorship and perspective. Although his death leaves a void in my life, I feel fortunate to have known a person with such depth and ability to be fully present as a colleague and friend.”
[Written by David Capuzzi]