William J. Gross Sr., 86, of Rutledge, a retired lighting engineer, died Monday, May 16, from a head injury after a fall in Avranches, France.
He and a son Stephen were visiting cemeteries, World War II landmarks, and museums in Normandy.
It was the first time Mr. Gross had been to Normandy since 1944. He landed there a month after D-Day with the 757th Railway Shop Battalion, whose assignment was to repair train engines in France and central Europe so supplies could get through.
Mr. Gross grew up in Southwest Philadelphia. He played football for West Philadelphia Catholic High School and was drafted into the military right after graduating in 1943.
After his discharge, he was a lighting engineer for several firms. He retired from Griffith Electrical Supply Co. in Trenton in 1990. He was a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society.
He and his wife, Rita Loftus Gross, met at a dance in Darby and married in 1958. They raised a family in Rutledge, where he served on the Borough Council and coached youth baseball and basketball teams. He was a former scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 307 in Morton.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and sailing at the family's vacation home in the Poconos.
In addition to his son Stephen, Mr. Gross is survived by sons William Jr. and Christopher; a daughter, Ritamarie Searles; a sister; and 11 grandchildren. His wife died in 2004.