Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Bobby Gross


January 9, 2020

Bob Gross

Bob Gross

Bobby Gross, lifelong Colfax farmer and craftsman, passed away January 4, 2020, at his Colfax home. He was 83. A service for Bobby will be Saturday, January 11th, at 1:00 p.m. in the chapel of Bruning Funeral Home. Burial will follow at the Colfax Cemetery where he will be laid to rest next to his parents and grandparents.

Robert Reinhart Gross was born October 30, 1936, in Colfax, to Reinhart and Engla Danberg Gross, their only child. He grew up on the family farm along Union Flat Creek graduating from Colfax High School in 1955. Bobby attended Washington State University for a while, but his heart was really on the farm and he began helping his dad with farming.

In 1959, Bobby was drafted into the U.S. Army and served for over three years as part of the signal corps. After being honorably discharged, he returned to the family farm. Bobby married Faith Derry in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on May 17, 1968. Their young family lived in a single wide trailer on the farm while Bobby and Faith began building their dream home nearby. It was a project that the whole family got involved in. They moved in later in 1969 and Bobby continued to turn their home into "his masterpiece".

It wasn't uncommon for Faith to return home from town to find that Bobby had started yet another remodel or update of some kind. He loved his home and shop and shaped them into exactly what he wanted throughout his lifetime. He learned to build cabinets in high school and became so gifted at it that he made the decision to lease the farm and go into woodworking full time.

"Bob's Cabinet Shop" was his full-time labor of love. He also built large scale wood models of boats, planes and cars. Some of these models became test samples for companies such as Fisher Body where as a teenager he won their contest for best models. Bobby was a master craftsman and examples of his work are all over the region. He designed and built the memorial trees that are prominently displayed in the halls of Whitman Hospital. Bobby and his father and grandfather "flipped" houses in Colfax before HGTV even thought of making that idea popular. Fixing, tinkering, building was his hobby.

Family time often meant working out in the shop with him. Each of the children had their own set of tools, some engraved with their names on them. Hours were spent teaching them to build models or do string art on some of the ships. He had a huge model train layout in a large room built just for that.

Bobby didn't have a lot of time for hobbies outside of his work but when he did he belonged to the Pine Grove Grange, the Colfax Elks and from his school days, the Sigma Nu Fraternity. He retired only because his health forced him to, and Faith and Bobby moved into Colfax about five years ago.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Faith; his children, Tom Martin, Endicott, Shawn (Brian) Stine, Michele (Doug) Swalley, and Robin (Eric) Jones all of Colfax; five grandchildren of whom he was so proud, Andrea (Grant) Monson, Cody Stine, Reggie, Christopher and Riane Jones, and by many friends in the community and other extended family. He was preceded in death by his parents.

The family suggests memorial gifts in his memory be to the Colfax Ambulance or to Kindred Hospice. On-line guest book is at http://www.bruningfuneralhome.com Arrangements have been entrusted to Bruning Funeral Home of Colfax.


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