On Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, Erle C. Gross, longtime resident and community leader of Big Horn County, died at Mission Ridge Rehabilitation Facility, from complications following the contraction of coronavirus at the age of 89.
Erle was born in Hardin on Sept. 14, 1931, and spent his early years in and around Lodge Grass and Wyola. Erle graduated from Montana State University in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics. This choice of career precipitated exciting and meaningful life adventures such as a year in Belgium with the International Farm Youth Exchange program, a Reserve Officer Training Program commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force, early employment in Forsyth and Miles City, 18 months serving as a farm manager near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and 12 years as the president and CEO of the Little Horn State Bank in Hardin. In addition to raising a family and making a living, Erle was generous with whatever time remained. He was a member of the Hardin Elks Club, the Masonic Lodge of Hardin, the Grand Lodge of Montana, the Scottish Rite and the Black Horse Patrol of Al Bedoo Shrine Temple in Billings. Erle also devoted time to the banking profession and served as former president of the Montana Banker’s Association and as an organizational lobbyist. Erle and his wife Janice owned and operated the Insurance Shop in Hardin, and they supported and attended the Congregational and the Evangelical Lutheran Churches there. In 2016, the retired couple moved from Hardin to Billings. They downsized from their farm west of Hardin to Wyndstone, an independent living facility in the Billings Heights.
Erle is survived by Janice Bayers Gross, his loving wife of nearly 66 years; three daughters, Debora Hansen of Dover, Delaware, DeAnna Poling of Lewes, Delaware, and Danette Davies and her husband, John, of Renton, Washington. In addition, Erle leaves five grandchildren, Heather Hansen (Dan Citron) of Wilmington, Delaware, Beth Hansen of Washington, D.C., Dana Michaud of Las Vegas, Megan Davies of Renton and Jake Davies of Spokane, Washington; and one great grand-daughter, Leah Hazel Citron of Wilmington. Erle’s brother, William, his only surviving sibling, and his wife, Helen, reside in Palm Springs, California. The loss of Erle will be felt by nieces, nephews, cousins and many dear friends. Erle was preceded in death by his mother, Hazel “Betty” Gross; his father, Frank Gross; and his sister, Genevieve Haworth.
The body of Erle Gross will be cremated, and a memorial service and interment will be held at Fairview Cemetery in Hardin at a later safer date.
Memorial donations may be made to the Shriners Hospital for Children, 911 W. Fifth Ave., Spokane, WA 99204 (www.shrinershospitalforchildren.org) or the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 20920, Billings, MT 59104 (www.yvas.org).
Condolences may be made at www.michelottisawyers.com.