Ralph W. Gross


Ralph W. Gross (“Benny”) passed away peacefully at his home in Edgartown on July 31, 2022. He was 84 years old. He succumbed to the outcome of a major hemorrhagic stroke that occurred in 2012. His daughter Melissa and granddaughter Myllenna were by his side at the time of passing.

He was born on Oct. 19, 1937, in Edgartown to Grace West Fisher and Benjamin Gross, the only boy of seven children. He grew up on Pinehurst Road, and as a young boy Ralph proudly delivered the weekly papers on his bike. He was an avid golfer at the Edgartown Golf Club during his teenage years and throughout his adult life. Staying active, he spent many years alongside Jimmy Morgan on his fishing boat in Menemsha, catching cod. 

Ralph was a jack of all trades — not only was he a fisherman, but he also did side jobs in painting and carpentry. To ease the stress of the world, he’d find himself in the Gut of Cape Poge, his favorite place to be on his boat. 

In 1971 he met his wife Lucille Simpson in Edgartown; they eventually ventured out to Everett, where they started their life together. He changed professions and invested in a fruit truck. Something he was passionate about was helping others. He sold fruit to the people in need, for cheap prices, right out of the back of his truck. Making families happy made him happy. After the birth of their first daughter, Ralph and Lucille returned to the Vineyard in 1979 because his mother had fallen ill. Ralph and Lucille’s family grew, and they raised three beautiful girls on the Vineyard. He had open arms to people in need, from the smallest gesture of someone in need of a cigarette to someone in need of a place to stay for a few days. It didn’t matter what it was, he didn’t judge. His heart made him the person he was, and Ralph had a heart of gold.

As Ralph aged, he began to write poetry. Such a talented and creative mind he had. The creation of his poetry could happen anywhere at any time; his ideas were constantly brewing. Anything he wrote was always so beautiful, and he would share it with whoever would take the time to listen, ranging from complete strangers to immediate family. Ralph was extremely family-oriented — he enjoyed visiting his sisters Carol and Taffy and watching their families grow throughout the years. If you asked Ralph, “Who are you?” Ralph would simply reply, “I’m an Edgartown fisherman.” Ralph was truly a Martha’s Vineyard treasure, and touched numerous hearts. 

Alongside his wife Lucille and his children, his greatest love was to be out on the water. He is survived by his daughter Melissa, and her husband Clayton DeOliveira and their two children Myllenna and Jonathan of Edgartown; his daughter Angela, and her husband Kedar Samuels of Florida and their four children Noah, Hailee, Gunner, and Elijah; his granddaughter Symanthia Johnson and grandsons Joseph Aguilar and Idan Wrangler; and his two sisters Emma (“Taffy”) Perkins and Carol Waris; alongside many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins. Ralph was predeceased by his wife Lucille, daughter Jennifer, and his sisters, Norma Spencer, Grace Kerns, and Elsie Landers. 

Funeral arrangements will be updated on the Chapman Funerals website


Love Goes On Forever
By Ralph Gross
Nov. 14, 2009

Remember love is a precious tool.
It is more than all the great treasures and jewels. 

When you have that gift, every candle is lit.
There may be sad moments, but it is only for a little bit. 

Treasure that can take away the tears and make a smile.
I hope you always have that gift from up above and it lasts a long, long while.  

It is such a marvelous way for us to go. 

Spread and reach from your heart with love,
So it will forever grow.



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