Zenith Gross, 92

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 6:15am

Zenith Henkin Gross passed away on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at age 92 in Concord, Mass. Beloved wife and widow of Sidney G. Gross, daughter of Harry and Rose Henkin, she is survived by her sister Elesa Kassoff and her family; children Kenneth H. Gross, Lawrence Gross and Katherine Gross; their spouses Melinda Rosenthal Gross, Rose Kuo, and Peter Thorne, as well as her grandchildren Spencer R. Gross, Julian Kuo-Gross, Sonya Thorne, and Langdon Thorne.

Ms. Gross’s career in journalism, public affairs, and non-fiction writing spanned from her first job for the AP Wire Service in 1944 to the upper ranks of corporate public affairs for the RCA Corporation in the 1960s and 70s. Supporting and mentoring young professional women was a key part of her civic engagements.  

In the late 50s, Zenith and her husband Sid Gross discovered Block Island. They loved its quiet and unspoiled beauty and it became a treasured annual family escape as their family grew to three children. On the island, Sid became a committed fisherman, while Zen pursued her writing, along with researching bluefish recipes to accommodate Sid’s catches. They made lifelong friends who shared their passion for fishing, socializing, and the island. 

In the 1970s, Sid and Zen built one of the first solar homes on Block Island, located on Sands Pond and designed by pioneering architect Don Watson. Cocktails on the porch overlooking the pond at sunset became a treasured family tradition with their three adult children and their families.

Zenith was an avid lover of poetry, theater, jazz, literature, social justice, politics, and good food, as well as being a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, mentor and friend. She will be deeply missed.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to support the "Sidney and Zenith Gross Prize" awarded to undergraduate and graduate students for excellence in investigative and enterprise journalism at the New York University Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

Checks payable to New York University may be mailed to:

In Memory of Zenith Gross, NYU Journalism

c/o Cynthia Young, UDAR, New York University

25 West 4th Street, Third Floor

New York, NY 10012