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Caroline Gross


February 9, 2012


Caroline Gross, 88, slipped through the gates of Heaven on February 8, 2012, at Geisinger Medical Center , Danville, PA.  Surrounded at the last moments by her son David Paul; and her daughters Pauline Rappold, Ruth Carlson, and Esther Nordman; son-in-law Leslie Nordman; and granddaughters Elizabeth Rappold Novack and Amanda Rappold, she peacefully entered the Presence of her Lord Jesus Christ at 7:01 p.m. 

Born on May 11, 1923 in Otovalo, Ecuador, to missionary parents, Carl and Clara Carlson, Caroline received Christ as her Savior at an early age and gained a heart of service to Him.  During WWII many missionaries sent their children back to the States to continue their education in the safer environment of Westervelt Home in Colombia, SC.  It was here that Caroline met and later married on May 17, 1944, Paul David Gross, a son of missionaries from Nigeria.  The next year they went as missionaries with Christian Missions in Many Lands to work in the Igala area of Nigeria, over the years serving in many different capacities “by all means to win some to Christ.”  The work they established includes Bible translation, church planting (there are now over 150 churches in the area), Sunday School work, Igala Bible School,  Christian primary schools and a Christian secondary school, preaching, teaching, training others to train others, raising and educating their family, and much more. 

After her husband died in 1982, Caroline took a huge step forward and started caring for a severely brain-injured girl, Alimo, whom she adopted and cared for over the next 20 years.  It was because of this act of love to Alimo that many more handicapped children found their way to Caroline.  Eventually opening an orphanage under the able direction of Daniel and Esther Edeh, Caroline continued to pour herself into loving and nurturing those in need, who now number over 400 people in two orphanages, Ministry of Mercy Orphanage in Otutulu Village and in Lokoja, Nigeria.  All of these “children” lovingly and proudly call her “Mama”. 

She is survived by three daughters and their husbands:  Pauline and Bill Rappold of Selinsgrove, PA; Esther and Leslie Nordman of Dallas, TX; Ruth and Stuart Carlson of Palestine, TX; by two sons: David and daughter-in-law Gaye Paul of Dallas, TX; and Paul Agbo of Anyigba, Nigeria; by one brother, Daniel and sister-in-law Sonya Carlson of Salome, AZ; by one sister-in­-law, Lydia Carlson; by ten grandchildren: Elizabeth Rappold and Paul Novack, Amanda Rappold, Melian Nordman Izotova and Misha Izotov; Clifford Nordman; Caroline Carlson and Paul Carlson; Nikki Zuber Smith; Heidi Zuber; Grace Paul and Jazden Paul;  by two great-grandchildren: Madeleine Novack and Michaela Novack; and by hundreds, perhaps thousands, who call her “Mama” and who have been born to new life through hers. 

Caroline was preceded in death by her husband Paul David Gross; by her daughter Carol Ann Zuber; by her daughter Alimo Nordman Gross; by her brother Paul David Carlson; and by her daughter­-in-law Joy Agbo. 

Memorial services will be held in four places and times:

1.       February 11, 2012 at Sunbury Bible Church, Route 11, Northumberland, Pennsylvania.   Visitation - 2:00 pm; Memorial Service - 3:00 p.m.

2.       Dallas, Texas, time and place to be announced.

3.       Anyigba, Kogi State, Nigeria, Memorial Service, time to be announced.

4.       Anyigba, Kogi State, Nigeria in June, 2012, a funeral service when her remains will be interred next to her daughter Alimo and her in-laws Malcolm and Minnie Gross, exact date and time to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, Caroline Gross would wish gifts to be given to feed her children at the Ministry of Mercy Orphanages.  Gifts may be sent to:

Partners in Joy, Inc.
PO Box 380729
Duncanville, TX 75138

“Then you will say in your heart:  Who has borne me these?...Behold I will lift up my hand to the nations….and they shall bring your sons in their bosom and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.  Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers….Then you will know that I am the Lord. Those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”  Isaiah 49: 21 - 23


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