EAA Mourns Loss of Director Emeritus Mal Gross
December 9, 2010 — Malvern J. “Mal” Gross Jr., who served on the EAA Board of Directors for more than two decades, passed away Sunday, December 5, at his home in East Windsor, New Jersey, after a courageous battle with multiple system atrophy, a degenerative neurological disorder. He was 77.
Mal was an accounting executive who retired in 1989 as a partner with the accounting firm now known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, but Mal’s passion was aviation. He was a lifelong pilot and flew for more than 50 years, logging 6,850 flight hours. Mal’s first plane was a Cessna 140, and during his lifetime he went on to own a total of nine aircraft - his last a Tecnam light-sport aircraft.
On January 1, 1977, Mal and his then-12-year-old son, Randy, set a world speed record by flying Mal’s Cessna Turbo 210L from San Francisco to Washington in 11 hours, 7 minutes, 31 seconds. In August the following year Mal flew the same airplane to an altitude of 9,882 meters - more than 32,421 feet – to claim the world record in his class for highest altitude in level flight.
Mal wrote about his flight experiences in a recently published memoir, Nine Lives – Adventures of a Lucky Pilot. In the book’s foreword, EAA Founder Paul Poberezny remarked that Nine Lives “should be read by every pilot.”
Before Mal passed, he made arrangements that will allow EAA to make Nine Lives available free to members and Young Eagles in a digital format. That digital edition will serve as Mal’s lasting legacy, and is expected to be available in early 2011. Hard copies are also available through EAA’s online store here.
“We are all saddened by the passing of Mal Gross,” said EAA Chairman Tom Poberezny. “He was an extremely dedicated director for EAA and contributed greatly to the organization’s success over the past 20 years.
“As a director his passion for aviation and his outstanding skills in the financial world were both important in his service to EAA.”
Mal served as president of the National Aeronautic Association from 1989-1995 and also served on the boards for the Soaring Society of America, the Balloon Federation of America, the International Aerobatic Club, and the United States Parachute Association.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Inge Stanneck Gross of East Windsor; son Randy and daughter Michele Siderius, both of New York; a sister, Linda Sinrod of Mason Neck, Virginia; and three grandchildren.