Gardening 09

Paul Francis Gruss

January 1, 1943 ~ March 31, 2022 (age 79)


Paul Francis Gruss (Friday, January 1, 1943- Thursday, March 31, 2022) (“And there’s a trusty hand my friend and give me a hand ‘o thine…we’ll drink a cup of kindness yet” for the memories are divine).

Paul was born in Pittsburgh on January 1, 1943, the youngest of five children of Walter and Sarah Gruss. Herman, the oldest, (b.1933) died shortly after birth. Lawrence (b.1935), Antoniette (b. 1938), and Francis Ann (b.1940), also predeceased him.

It was altogether fitting that Paul was born on New Year’s Day for he was a cup of kindness to all who knew him and one whose memory will always provoke cheerful noise and embraces as the ball drops to signal another year of life anew.

From his father, Paul developed a love and appreciation for art, history, music, physics, flowers, and well- you name it. 

Paul grew up on Pittsburgh’s North Side where his family were members of St. Joseph Parish. Paul received his secondary education at St. Vincent’s in Latrobe and at North Catholic High School. He also attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and was further mentored in art by the sisters of St.Benedict.

There followed a career in art that led to travels and residences in New York, St.Thomas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Accomplished in graphic design, Paul played a prominent role in the art directorship of the ABC evening news. He later opened a successful and award- winning design studio in St. Thomas with Ann Ruddy. 

Following the death of his life partner, Burt Poler, in1998, Paul returned to Pittsburgh and to the family’s Northside home where he remained until his death. Paul took this time to expand the fullness of his life by serving as a counselor to those suffering from addictions. Hundreds of people were touched by his joy for life. He cultivated the souls of others with the same care he devoted to his backyard garden, his favorite dwelling, and therefore rightfully the place where he spent his final moments on a warm spring day the last of March.

Donations in Paul’s memory should be sent to: Carmelite Nuns of Allentown, 3551 Lanark Road, Coopersburg, Pennsylvania 18036-9324.



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