We are sad to share the news of the passing of Gerald “Gerry” Evan Grossman, who is survived by his wife, Jennifer S. Kriegler, MD and daughters, Joanna Grossman Newton, MD, MSc (Jeremy Newton, and sons, Bennett and Maddox) and Marissa Kriegler Grossman, PhD (Parker Cleveland, and daughter Fern Cleveland).
He died around 2:30 a.m. Jan. 2, 2021, in the COVID-19 unit of Menorah Park in Beachwood.
Gerry was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Nov. 23, 1948 to Morris Grossman (deceased) and Beatrice Grossman (nee Frohman) (deceased). He was the oldest of four tightly knit siblings, Kenneth Grossman, MD (Toby Grossman, and children, Eric and Ilene), Elise Grossman (Scott Singer, and daughter Elena), and Richard Grossman (Ann Grossman, and children, Stephen and Melissa). There is no mistaking that they are related when the family is together – the boisterous, loud conversation can be heard from miles away.
He and Jen fell madly in love and were married on June 22, 1975. He would do anything to make her happy, no matter the cost or convenience. She was equally devoted to him, always ensuring his health, happiness, and safety every day of his life until his very last. They are soulmates; 48 years together wasn’t long enough. Their marriage is a model for us all.
He was an epic storyteller: from working ground control on the Grumman A-6A Intruder, to writing a calculus textbook at Berkeley with the infamous Ted Kaczynski (aka The Unabomber), to hitchhiking across the U.S. during the early 70’s, to having his office visited by the FBI because they mistook him for Gerald F. Grossman, MD, also a neurologist, but with less law-abiding medical practices and a critically important different middle initial. His stories seemed so outrageous, they couldn’t possibly be true. He really lived every moment he was given.
His family was everything to him. Every day he told us, his daughters, how proud he was and how much he loved us. He adored our husbands and they adored him. He had so many friends that were like family. Decades-long relationships with people who will never forget his impact on their lives. Then there were those who he only just met but with whom he quickly formed a close bond because he genuinely cared about people. His home health aides and hospice nurses told us how much they loved our dad, valued the time they spent with him, and how much he inspired them. He did that for countless people even in the midst of suffering from a terminal illness. He’s one in a million.
He too needed strength these last few years and he got that from his deep love for his grandchildren, Bennett Jordan Grossman Newton, Maddox “Max” Jackson Grossman Newton and Fern Maya Cleveland. His will to live for these kids allowed his body to defy the laws of science, physiology and medicine many times over.
After 30+ years as a well-respected neuromuscular neurologist, it seemed like a cruel fate when he was diagnosed with Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA), a rare, incurable neurodegenerative disease. Though MSA was terribly painful, he lived these years with his usual rationality, practicality and stoicism for when facing life’s challenges. Unfortunately, he contracted COVID-19 while at his inpatient hospice facility, and so his death was not the one we wished for him, planned for him or that he deserved. We are thankful he is finally at peace.
In Judaism, when someone dies we say, “May his memory be for a blessing.” The best way to honor the legacy of our dad is to be kind to one another, love your family and tell them so, really get to know people – encourage them to do the things they only dream of doing, and do work for which you are passionate about and makes a difference in the world. Wear a mask, wash your hands, stay home if possible and get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to you. Let us end this pandemic together.
Private family services will be held at Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel with burial at Mount Olive Cemetery. To view this service at noon Jan. 8, navigate to bit.ly/38eCpWG.
No visitation due to COVID-19.
The Gerald E. Grossman, MD Memorial Fund to Support MSA Research has been established to honor his legacy (support.multiplesystematrophy.org/Research4Gerry).