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australian rowers profiles and history

Barry B Gross

Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

Barry Bruce Gross 5th May 1945 to 10th January 2012

The following obituary appeared in the Club's 2011-12 annual report.

"Grossy" was a Mercantilian since 1963 and a Vietnam Veteran. He died peacefully at his home in Blairgowrie on Jan 10 2012, aged 66, after a relatively short illness and in the company of his wife, Margie, and daughters, Penny and Libby. 

Barry first rowed at Melbourne High School. After leaving school, he continued his sport at Mercantile Rowing Club. Barry's first boat at Meres was the Maiden VIII under coach, John Thomas. Crewmembers included Garvin Hurley, Mike Hume, Mike McKenna and cox, Peter O'Brien. In the following season, he rowed Junior IV and was a member of the 1964 champion Junior VIII with McKenna, Warwick Hutchins, Andy Evans and David Palfreyman. 

In 1965, he was conscripted to the armed services, serving his country in Vietnam with the 101 Field Artillery Unit as a gunner. During this time, Barry developed life-long friendships with KC (Keith Ball) and Zorba (Ross Teschendorf). Barry was discharged in 1967 with three medals including Vietnam Active service Medal and Australian Defence Medal. He promptly returned to Mercantile where he rowed bow in the successful Senior VIII and was a foundation member of the much-loved "Cock Robbins" VIII with whom he rowed socially for many years. 

Barry was Vice Captain in 1972-73 during Marty Tomanovits' captaincy and it should be mentioned he was also an avid swimmer; having competed in the Portsea and Lorne surf races on several occasions (together with other Mercantilians). Barry worked in the domestic and commercial lighting business for most of his life despite brief sojourns in the airfreight and moving businesses. He will be remembered and deeply missed by many at Mercantile. 

Andrew Guerin
February 2023

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