Born in Cherokee, KS, in 1911, John Gross attended school in West Mineral and lived his entire life in Cherokee County. While in high school, he rode his horse to school. On a cold, sleety day, his horse slipped and fell, breaking John's leg. He had to go another year until graduation to make up for all the time he missed convalescing.
John worked in a chemical plant and also in a coal tipple, running the washer. He enjoyed going to the local dances, and that is where he met his future wife, Edna. They were married 45 years when she passed away in 1982.
John and Edna's union was blessed with three children, which has now grown to include 10 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. He has five brothers and two sisters. One of his sisters is a resident of Via Christi Village in Pittsburg.
He remained independent in his home and was still driving when he turned 100 in May of 2011. A few months later, on July 27, he also moved to Via Christi Village.
John credits his longevity to taking care of his health, noting he had been eating oatmeal with no sugar every night for the past 20 to 30 years.