M. Grant Gross Jr., a retired oceanographer and former director of the Chesapeake Bay Institute, died Dec. 17 at the Heron Point retirement community in Chestertown of heart disease.
The former longtime resident of the city’s Tuscany-Canterbury neighborhood was 84.
(From Baltimore Sun / By Frederick N. Rasmussen) — “Grant was a steady hand at the helm when it came to ocean science,” said Dr. Michael J. Roman of Easton, a professor and director of the Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, part of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
He said Mr. Gross was “instrumental in advancing ocean science in the U.S. He was cutting edge, and a fixture at the times. He also worked hard at getting minorities into oceanography. He was all about inclusiveness.”
A1954 graduate of Princeton University, he studied for a year at the Delft University of Technology in Holland on a Fulbright Fellowship. After serving in the Army, he obtained both a master’s degree in 1958 and doctorate in marine geology in 1961 from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
It was while teaching at the University of Washington that Dr. Gross backed into the field of oceanography.
“At Princeton, he had written a paper on the limestone of Bermuda, and when he went to the University of Washington, they told him he was teaching a new course on oceanography. That’s what got him going,” said his wife of 26 years, the former Dr. Elizabeth R. “Liz” Bulleid, an oceanographer and former director of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research.
From 1961 to 1968, he was associate professor of oceanography at the University of Washington in Seattle, and from 1966 to 1968 was associate curator of sedimentology at the Smithsonian Institute.
In 1968, he joined the faculty of the State University of New York at Stony Brook as professor of oceanography. He left in 1972 to join the staff of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He was head of the oceanographic section of the National Science Foundation from 1973 to 1974, then became director of the Chesapeake Bay Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
He was later director of the Division of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation, from 1980 until retiring in 1994.
“He was very well liked and he always liked to get your opinion. He was very egalitarian, fair and good at getting a consensus,” Dr. Roman said. “Grant was a very quiet and not a domineering person. He was self-assured and was a confident person. He brought out the best in people.”
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