Pius Gross was born July 17, 1924 on a farm near Hague, North Dakota, son of Carl and Barbara Gross (Heilman). He was the third of 12 children and is survived by 6 brothers (Joe, Claude, Ambrose, Anton, Aluys, and Robert) and 3 sisters (Agnes, Clara, and Darlene). His 2 elder brothers (Matt and Edmund) had already passed away. Pius had a zest for life and a strong will to survive. As the third of twelve children, he had to leave school and work on the farm to help the family. He grew up during the depression and life was hard. He survived appendicitis as a child without antibiotics, and after more than a month in a Bismarck hospital was allowed to go home. He told may tales of the hunger and poverty he endured as a child. In spite of this, he was instilled with a work ethic to “do better” and in that vein he left home at one point to work in the apple orchards in Washington and the shipyards in Portland, Oregon. He joined the US Army in 1948, and with his background in farming and knowledge of farm equipment, he was attached to Air Force with the Army Corps of Engineers, where he ran heavy equipment and built runways. Pius was honorably discharged and a Staff Sergeant. He was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base at one point and met his future wife, Mary Lou Snell at the Old Cactus Inn on Pearblossom Highway. They married in February, 1951 and settled in the Antelope Valley after his discharge from the Army, bought a home and raised their five children. Pius remained a heavy equipment operator throughout his career, a proud member of Local Union Number 12. He was involved in building many roads in the Antelope Valley. Pius was a devout Catholic and a member of St. Mary’s Parish. His wife, Mary Lou passed away in 1992. Pius is survived by his five children: Joanne (Steve) Burdette, Barbara Gross, Larry (Della) Gross, Laura (Craig) McConnachie, and Lindsay (Carla) Gross, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Pius actually drove a car and lived alone until he was 91, when another driver hit his car as he was headed to meet Laura and Craig for breakfast. This started a cascade of health problems and led to his death. Pius passed away Oct. 25, 2016 at the Veteran’s Hospital in Los Angeles, Ca. The family wishes to thank the VA Health System for their care of Pius over the last year. Donations in memory of Pius can be made to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Palmdale, CA.