Floral 15

Elizabeth Joy Gross

January 22, 1928 ~ January 6, 2024 (age 95) 95 Years Old

Elizabeth Gross Obituary

Rhinebeck - Born Elizabeth Joy Landrum in Beattyville, Kentucky on January 22nd, 1928, Joy Gross passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 6th at the age of 95 at Tenbroeck Rehab Center in Lake Katrine, surrounded by her daughters, after a years long struggle with dementia.

Joy, the eldest daughter of Genevieve and Oren Landrum, a Presbyterian minister, grew up in the South. Her family moved as her father’s ministry dictated, living in Waynesville, NC, Tifton, GA, Montreat, NC, then nearby Asheville where she got her first job as a telephone operator.

She and her husband, Robert R. Gross (deceased), moved with Joy’s three children, Louis, David, and Betsy, and his son, David, to the Rhinebeck area in 1959 and Joy remained a local resident ever since.

She and Bob founded The Pawling Health Manor, a pioneering health retreat, the same year. Trailblazers in their field, they helped thousands of guests with various ailments regain vitality and retain lifelong health through a whole plant-based lifestyle for over three decades. A nutritionist and passionate vegetarian since the age of 14, Joy inspired thousands of people, authoring five books on the subject (including a cookbook published at age 87, “Living Younger Longer”). She was a founding member and, for many decades, a leader of the American Natural Hygiene Society (now known as the National Health Association), a nonprofit founded in 1948 championing a plant-based food lifestyle. Joy was active in many philanthropic organizations, and staunchly advocated for the local community she loved so much. She served on the board of directors of Rehabilitation Programs Inc, which promoted improved resources for the mentally disabled, for over a decade; she served on the Gala Committee of Winnakee Land Trust for several years, working to preserve and protect open land throughout the Hudson Valley.

Joy was also passionate about Rhinebeck’s rich history and served on the board of directors of Rhinebeck Historical Society for over ten years. She was also involved in the effort to preserve and promote historic Wilderstein in Rhinecliff, home of President Roosevelt’s beloved cousin, Daisy Suckley.

An avid reader, Joy loved to write, cook, sew, garden (she cherished her peonies), travel, dance, and play the piano. Inspired by her daughter, Betsy, a prominent Hudson Valley artist, Joy, a talented painter in her own right, enjoyed painting landscapes & still lifes. She parlayed her love of “antiquing” into a gift shop called The Vital Connection in the village of Rhinebeck. Joy was also a proud member of her local bridge group for over forty years.

After converting to Judaism in the late 1960’s, the preacher’s daughter became a member of Temple Beth El in Poughkeepsie. In later years, her religious affiliation became more secular through humanistic Judaism.

Joy is survived by her sister Genevieve Ransom, her brother James MacDonald Landrum (Donna), children Louis, David, and Elizabeth (Betsy) Jacaruso (David Foster), Deborah (Gross) Rodriguez (Hector Rodriguez), and Wendy (Gross) Maitland, grandchildren Cara Joy Hamill (David Ifill). Emma (Jake Hanly) and Matthew Maitland, Eric and Sarah Rodriguez, great grandchildren Seychelle and Soren Ifill, several nieces and nephews, and many cousins. Joy is predeceased by her brother Owen Landrum, ex-husband Louis A. Jacaruso, husband Robert R. Gross, 18-year partner Ben Reifler and stepson David Gross.

A non-denominational service in memory of Joy and in celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, January 13th, at 11 am, at The Church of the Messiah in Rhinebeck, NY. Fellowship and refreshments will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Joy’s honor to the Rhinebeck Rotary Club. Checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 607, Rhinebeck, NY 12572, or made online at https://rhinebeckrotary.square.site/. All gifts are tax deductible and will benefit the Church of the Messiah’s Jayne Brooks Food Pantry providing food to those who are food insecure in our community and Grace Smith House whose mission is to enable individuals and families to live free from domestic violence, the Rhinebeck Historical Society, and Winnakee Land Trust.

Arrangements under the direction of the Dapson-Chestney Funeral Home, Rhinebeck, NY. 

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Memorial Service
January 13, 2024

11:00 AM
Church of the Messiah
6436 Montgomery St.
Rhinebeck, NY 12572


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