Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Memorial on Saturday for Oldsmar soldier killed in Afghanistan

OLDSMAR — Flags line an Oldsmar street nearly two weeks after a local soldier lost his life in Afghanistan.

On Saturday, the parents of that soldier, Army Cpl. Frank Gross, plan to hold a public memorial service for him.

Craig and Antonia Gross initially scheduled the service at a smaller church in Safety Harbor. But they expect a huge crowd. So they moved it to Countryside Christian Center, which can accommodate about 2,500.

Several cars from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office will escort the Grosses to the service, said sheriff's Sgt. Tom Nestor. The Patriot Guard Riders also plan to provide motorcycle escorts.

Craig Gross said the family doesn't want to say much now. They want the attention focused on their son, who was killed on July 16 after an improvised explosive device caused his vehicle to roll over.

He died less than three weeks after he was deployed. Since then, the community has rallied around the family.

"The neighborhood's been wonderful," said Mayor Jim Ronecker, who drove down the Gross' street Wednesday. "Everybody in their neighborhood has a flag out. They're very appreciative of the community support, which has been overwhelming."

Such a loss is unusual in Oldsmar, said Ronecker, who has been asked to speak at the service. "We have no records or history of any other active-duty soldiers being killed," he said.

Oldsmar plans to honor Gross as well. His name will be inscribed on a wall at the city's Veterans Memorial Park, where a memorial bench will likely be installed in his honor, Ronecker said.

Council member Jerry Beverland said Gross' death has hit the community hard: "We try to consider Oldsmar a community of families. When someone loses someone, it's a loss for all of us."

Gross, 25, known as "Frankie," loved baseball and was a pitcher at Indian Rocks Christian High. He earned bachelors and masters degrees from Full Sail University near Orlando and enlisted in the Army in May 2010.

Deployed on June 28, he was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, out of Fort Hood, Texas. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon, according to the military.

He'll be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at or (727) 445-4155.


The family of Army Cpl. Frank Gross plans to hold a public service to honor him at 1 p.m. Saturday at Countryside Christian Center, 1850 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater.

.If you go

Public is invited

The family of Army Cpl. Frank Gross plans to hold a public service to honor him at 1 p.m. Saturday at Countryside Christian Center, 1850 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater.

Memorial on Saturday for Oldsmar soldier killed in Afghanistan 07/27/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 10:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter


    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.