CSUN mourns the death of beloved English professor Gloria Gross, who took her own life last Monday in her Granada Hills home, the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigations Bureau confirms. She was 59.
“She was a very fine scholar and a very fine teacher,” said George Uba, chair of the Department of English, who received a phone call late last Monday night from a family spokesperson notifying him of her death.
Gross taught in the CSUN Department of English for more than 20 years. Her expertise was in literature and film. She especially had a passion for 18th century studies, as well as an extreme love for knowledge and learning.
“She was so very, very intelligent,” said Kevin Dooley, a longtime close friend and neighbor, whose wife and son were arriving home on Monday afternoon when they saw police cars, a coroner and Gross’ beloved Chow Chow dog Mordichai, also known as “Mo,” in her yard.
“She just loved that dog,” said Dooley, a CSUN graduate student and English teacher at a local junior high school. “We’d look out the front window often to see Mordichai coming down the street. You knew that once you saw him that Gloria wasn’t far behind him ? and the whole neighborhood would come out to talk to them.”
Fifteen-year-old Brian Dooley, Kevin’s son, said, “I remember when she’d walk Mo. He’d pull her, she’d stop to talk to everyone an d he’d play in the yard.”
“I would ask her who’s walking who,” Brian Dooley said.
Her love was for few things more than classic film and literature, Mordichai, and her motorcycle.
Kevin Dooley said Gross “always laugh and tell me I was crazy for teaching middle school. I think that it’s maybe because the younger students can sometimes be a little bit more boisterous than college students.”
“I think that she liked teaching college students. She liked having intelligent conversations about literature,” Dooley said.
Deborah Harrington, a former CSUN student, said Gross “made an indelible impression upon me through her scholarship and her humor.”
“I’ve thought often of her passion for learning and have attempted in my 23 years of teaching to bring a similar blend of academic rigor and down-to-earth enthusiasm to my classrooms,” Harrington said.
Gross had no children of her own and is survived by her father.
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