Ira Gross

Ira Gross, 88, of Kingston, RI, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Rhode Island for four decades died peacefully with compassionate care from Hospice, on Tuesday, August 24, 2021.

Dr. Gross is survived by his sister, Virginia Levin of Pennsylvania: and his wife of sixty years, Dr. Alice Dzen Gross; his son Seth Gross and wife, Carolyn Ford Gross; their two sons, Cameron Nathan Gross and Caleb Meyer Gross and twin granddaughters, Haley Catherine Gross and Madison Elizabeth Gross; children of his predeceased son Ari Michael Gross and wife Tamara. His grandchildren gave him much ‘nachas’ [joy]!

Ira’s entire professional life was dedicated, both in outreach and research, to better the lives of abused and neglected children and children with special needs; and their families.

He focused on issues of domestic violence and child abuse when discussion of these topics bordered on being a social taboo. Through his work with the Courts; DCYF; and schools, he advocated for these children since they lacked a voice for themselves.

Dr. Gross helped write the R.I. State Statute for Special Education [chapter 16-24- Children with Disabilities]. He founded a children’s mental health clinic and the first program for Gifted children in the Cranston School System.

Beyond Rhode Island, he was employed in Boston, Massachusetts for the Judge Baker Guidance Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

On an International scale, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development {AID], on behalf of the Nigerian government, he conducted a national study of children’s mental health needs resulting in institutional reforms, creation of degree programs at the University of Ibadan, and much needed clinical services.

Similarly, as a representative of “Partners for America” [an international philanthropic organization], he identified the needs and problems presented by children throughout the State of Sergipe, Brazil, with a special focus on “street children”.

In Israel , he consulted with the department of Child Psychiatry, Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, where he undertook research with a population [including Palestinian youth] who manifested behavioral and learning deficiencies.

In a prior sabbatical year he worked in Israel, at the Kibbutz Child and Family Clinic, Kiryat Tivon, on issues of children’s mental health, servicing seventy kibbutzim [social cooperatives]. These studies were included in a book of which he was the senior editor.

The American Board of Examiners in Professional Psychology awarded him ‘Diplomate’ status in recognition of his superior competence.

Ira’s army service, based in France led to his passion for French cooking. Yet, England and all things ‘British’ was his great love, including ‘Gilbert & Sullivan operettas; British TV series; and hiking and biking through the world with British hiking groups.

Ira possessed a wry wit, blunt manner, and the most tender of hearts. He never hesitated to speak out on behalf of his principles. When one considers the qualities that make a “mensch”, Ira comes to mind.

He has willed his body to Brown University School of Medicine for Research. The family will hold a memorial at a later date.

The family asks that donations be made to Hope Hospice, 1085 North Main St., Providence, R.I. 02904. Condolences may be left at

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