In 1945, just one year after they were married,  Paul and Caroline Gross went as missionaries with Christian Missions in Many Lands (CMML) to work in the Igala area of Nigeria, over the years serving in many different capacities “by all means to win some to Christ.”  The work they established includes Bible translation, church planting (there are now over 150 churches in the area), Sunday School work, Igala Bible School,  Christian primary schools and a Christian secondary school, preaching, teaching, training others to train others, raising and educating their family, and much more.

In lieu of flowers, Caroline Gross would wish gifts to be given to feed her children at the Ministry of Mercy Orphanages.  Gifts may be sent to:

Partners in Joy, Inc.

PO Box 380729

Duncanville, TX 75138

“Then you will say in your heart:  Who has borne me these?...Behold I will lift up my hand to the nations….and they shall bring your sons in their bosom and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.  Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers….Then you will know that I am the Lord. Those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”  Isaiah 49: 21 - 23

After her husband died in 1982, Caroline took a huge step forward and started caring for a severely brain-injured girl, Alimo, whom she adopted and cared for over the next 20 years.  It was because of this act of love to Alimo that many more handicapped children found their way to Caroline.  Eventually opening an orphanage under the able direction of Daniel and Esther Edeh, Caroline continued to pour herself into loving and nurturing those in need, who now number over 400 people in two orphanages, Ministry of Mercy Orphanage in Otutulu Village and in Lokoja, Nigeria.  All of these  “children” lovingly and proudly call her “Mama”.

Caroline Gross, 88, was called home to Heaven on February 8, 2012. Until her transition, she was indeed a Living Sacrifice.

Born on May 11, 1923 in Otavalo, Ecuador, to missionary parents, Carl and Clara Carlson, Caroline received Christ as her Savior at an early age and gained a heart of service to Him.  During WWII many missionaries sent their children back to the States to continue their education in the safer environment of Westervelt Home in Colombia, SC.  It was here that Caroline met and later married on May 17, 1944, Paul David Gross, a son of missionaries from Nigeria.  

She is survived by three daughters and their husbands:  Pauline and Bill Rappold of Selinsgrove, PA; Esther and Leslie Nordman of Dallas, TX; Ruth and Stuart Carlson of Palestine, TX; by a son, David and daughter-in-law Gaye Paul of Dallas, TX;  by one brother, Daniel and sister-in-law Sonya Carlson of Salome, AZ; by one sister-in­-law, Lydia Carlson; by ten grandchildren: Elizabeth Rappold Novack and Paul Novack, Amanda Rappold, Melian Nordman Izotova and Misha Izotov; Clifford Nordman; Caroline Carlson and Paul Carlson; Nikki Zuber Smith; Heidi Zuber; Grace Paul and Jazden Paul;  by two great-grandchildren: Madeline Novack and Michaela Novack; and by hundreds, perhaps thousands, who call her “Mama” and who have been born to new life through hers.

Caroline was preceded in death by her husband Paul David Gross; by her daughter Carol Ann Zuber; by her daughter Alimo Nordman Gross; by her brother Paul David Carlson; and by her daughter­-in-law Joy Agbo.


At two memorial services earlier held in the US, one in Pennsylvania, and the other in Texas, people showed up from different facets of her life and from different areas of the country to honor this lady who had honored God with all that she had. A number of Igala sons came and some spoke, including Rueben Adejo, Joel Ijaja, David Adija Paul, Sonnie Ebikwo, and Dr. Sam Alfa. Also many families who had adopted children from Ministry of Mercy Orphanage came, making the event bright and colorful with their Nigerian garb. Mom Gross' children spoke, "rising up and calling her blessed", for she had truly lived a Proverbs 31 life. "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates." Pr. 31:30,31

Her namesake granddaughter Caroline sang a song in honor of her, and messages from loved ones in Nigeria, including messages from the director of MoM, Daniel Edeh, were read.

Also Mr. Yakubu Yankee Isah, president of an Igala group in the US, came representing his organization.

Another memorial service was also held on June 2nd in Anyigba, Kogi State, Nigeria, where Mama spent most of her life ministering to the people.  No fewer than 600 hundred persons turned up, many of them bearing heart-warming testimonies about Mama’s life and work.

Background music : LIVING SACRIFICE,  by Joe Ifah