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Rosie Bell Gross, mother of Michigan Citizen founding publisher, makes her transition

Rosie Bell Gross, 99, died peacefully at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, on the morning of Sept. 7, 2011.

The mother of the late Charles Kelly, founding publisher of the Michigan Citizen, Rosie was a long time Muskegon resident who moved to Detroit in 2000 from Kokomo, Ind.

A talented seamstress, Rosie loved to create hats and wore them with flair. She worked in a school cafeteria, in private homes, and was an avid gardener planting colorful blooms for her own and others’ gardens. In the early 1960s she earned a certificate as a home repair specialist in the city of Muskegon.

Having given her life at an early age to Christ, after relocating to Muskegon in the early 1950s with third husband, Bennie Gross, Jr. and daughter Delories, the family joined Bethesda Baptist. She lived a short while in Union Pier, before relocating to Tugaloo, Miss. There, she reunited with Cade Chapel in Jackson. Due to diminishing health, she moved in 1987 to Indianapolis, and then in 1992 to Kokomo, Ind., residing with her daughter and grandson. She was a resident of New Light Nursing Home in Detroit for the last seven years, earning the respect and love of its caregivers and the title of Queen of New Light for being the eldest resident in 2011.

Rosie was the fifth of 19 children born to Henry and Cornelius (Crawford) Williams in Madison County, Miss. Her twin died at birth and only 10 children survived to adulthood.

Rosie was preceded in death by her parents and brothers: Henry, Isaac, Willie, and Sam; sisters: Virginia, Lurien, Adelaine, and Cornelius. A daughter, Virgie Mae, died in her infancy, and son Charles Douglas passed in Feb. 2006.

Left to mourn her passing are daughter Delories Gross Johnson, of Indianapolis, sister Idalee Caldwell of Milwaukee, daughter-in-law Teresa Kelly of Highland Park, her six grandchildren Valorie Franklin, Melinda Kelly and Karletta Kelly all of Chicago; Catherine Kelly (Michael Tardif) and Karima Sorel (Charles Sorel) of Detroit; and Rev. Dr. Damone Paul Johnson (Angela) of Albany, N.Y.; seven great-grandchildren, three great-great grandchildren and a host of nieces and nephews, friends and relatives.

She will be interred in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Chicago, Sept. 17, with Rev. Dr. Charles W. Poole, pastor, Bethesda Baptist, Muskegon, presiding.

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