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Gross, Eileen Marie Davis

Eileen Marie Davis Gross died March 31, 2017, at age 95 in Kansas City, Missouri, the city of her birth.


She graduated at age 16 from Southwest High School, after which she attended Northwestern University, majoring in speech therapy and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1942. Eileen returned to her hometown to teach speech at Southwest High School, and in 1943, she married Michael Gross, then an ensign in the United States Navy. Eileen and Mike had met at Northwestern where Mike trained to become a naval officer.

After Mike returned from sea duty in World War II, they moved to Mobile, Alabama, where Mike supervised the construction of liberty ships until the end of the war. After the war, they started a fabric store in Wichita, Kansas, in 1954, ultimately moving to Kansas City in 1958 to merge their operation with Davis Fabrics, the company founded by her grandfather in 1913 on Petticoat Lane in downtown Kansas City. When the company added two more locations, Eileen gave up teaching to become a full-time co-partner in the business.

Eileen was an active participant in the intellectual and artistic life of Kansas City. She was a dedicated supporter and board member of the Print Society at the Nelson-Atkins Museum, the Brandeis Women’s Club of Kansas City, and the Kansas City chapter of the Japan American Society, of which she was a founding member.

She is survived by son Edmund (Michiko), daughter Lisa Kartus (Jesse) and granddaughter Ema Lamar (Jonathan).

A memorial reception will be held on Sunday, April 9, 2017, between 3 and 5 p.m. at the home of Edmund Gross. Please call 913-648-7672 for further information. A private interment was scheduled to take place at the Leavenworth National Cemetery on April 5.

In lieu of flowers and in accordance with her wishes, donations in her name may be made to Planned Parenthood.