December 1, 1924 - September 1, 2019
Babette Joyce Gross of St. Louis Park passed peacefully on Sept. 1, at the age of 94. She is preceded in death by her loving husband of 55 years, Morton B. Gross; her brother, Lynn Kopald; and parents, Rose and Henry Kopald. She is survived by her two sons, Charles and Hal. Babette was blessed with excellent health throughout her life, but suffered from dementia in her last years. Babette’s life course was inspired by her adventurous parents. Her father Henry was the son of Saloon-Hotel owners from Omaha. An adventurous businessman he sailed to China and Japan searching for business opportunities. Upon returning from China he traveled to Minnesota where he visited the Bergman family of Minnetonka. There he met Rose Bergman, whom he married three days after meeting her. They moved to Chicago, where in 1924 Babette was born and spent her childhood. Her father worked for a time as a distributor for MGM Studios, and through his contacts was able to secure an audition for Babette and her brother Lynn for the “Spanky and Our Gang” movie series. The studio was interested, but Henry preferred his position as a distributor for MGM so the family decided to stay in Chicago. It was here that Babette, as a child, had dinner at their apartment with the likes of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez, who were among the many MGM studio celebrities she met. In that apartment Babette was even introduced to Chicago mob boss Al Capone. There was a move to the Dakotas in the late 1930’s during the depression, and then a return to Minneapolis. Henry secured work with the Ted Mann Theaters and Babette attended West High School, then spent a year at the University of Minnesota studying fashion design. During this time, she had many suitors, but eventually married Navy Pharmacist First Mate, Mort Gross. They were married in 1946 and remained so until his passing in 2001. Babette was a consummate athlete. In the 40’s with husband Mort it was a love of dancing, in the 50’s tournament bowling. In the 60’s and 70’s it was golf where she “Beat the Pro” at Brookview Country Club. The mid 70’s thru the 90’s tennis was their passion. In all these sporting endeavors they collected myriad trophies. In 1960 Babette joined The Sports and Health Club of St. Louis Park long before it was a regular activity for women. There she took a liking to yoga and aerobic exercise. Babette was culturally open minded. She excelled at bringing disparate groups of friends together. She played Bridge Club with gentile friends one week and Mah Jong with Jewish friends the next for over 50 years. Babs and Mort enjoyed bringing these groups together socially for parties and dancing. It proved to be a very successful mixing of their diverse friends. Babette was one of Minneapolis Art Dealer Gordon Locksley’s first customers in the 60’s and thoroughly enjoyed his art events. During an event at the Locksley mansion on Mount Curve Avenue in Minneapolis she met the artist Andy Warhol who offered her one of his “Tomato Soup Can” works for $250. She turned him down, later saying “who wants a painting of a soup can on their wall?” Eventually she procured from the gallery a Guston Lithograph, a Lichtenstein lithograph and a Calder print. At these Mount Curve parties she once met with Lichtenstein and modern artist Christo, who wrapped things and people in cellophane. Later in life her love of fashion led her to work as a salesperson in retail women’s clothing sales. Over the years she worked for Carole of Edina, Lucilles and later Lucilles II, which were all women’s clothing outlets in Edina. She enjoyed advising customers on what to wear and what looks worked for them. Her taste was so respected that customers returned time and again to obtain her advice. Babette was generally optimistic, always moving forward. She was an avid reader, movie buff, theater goer and world traveler and enjoyed living to the fullest. Our most sincere gratitude to the Breck Home, its owner and manager Jennifer Morgan, and to the entire staff for the outstanding care given to Babette (nicknamed “Babulous” or “Dancing Babs” by the staff) over the last seven years as she completed her life’s journey. A loving daughter, wife, mother and friend, she will be greatly missed by those who knew her. Memorials may be sent to Jennifer Morgan at Breck Home, 312 West 95th Street, Bloomington, MN. Private services for the family have been held.
Babette Joyce Gross of St. Louis Park passed peacefully on Sept. 1, at the age of 94. She is preceded in death by her loving husband of 55 years, Morton B. Gross; her brother, Lynn Kopald; and parents, Rose and Henry Kopald. She is survived... View Obituary & Service Information
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