Jonathan Wavel Gross – 1941 – 2011
This obituary was published in MSA Newslink September 2011
JON GROSS, who died on July 29 2011 aged 70, was MSA Development Manager for 10 years in the 1980s and ’90s and in this role he recruited thousands of ADIs to membership of the association and was an integral part of the management team at MSA Head Office. John first joined the MSA in 1980 and three or four years later took on the vacant role of chairman of MSA West Midlands. Jon was a passionate believer in the MSA and he came up with the idea of using a motor caravan to take the MSA message out and about around test centres to inform ADIs and the public about the MSA. With the help of the late Phil Whitehead a vehicle was prepared and Jon set off touring test centres. One of the first centres he visited was Coventry where one of the ADIs Jon signed up was Geoff Little, now MSA deputy national chairman.
In later years Jon was joined on the road in another vehicle by Roy Appleby from MSA North East.
Jon was much more than just the MSA’s man with a van. After leaving school Jon spent some years working in France and there honed his French language skills, which made him an ideal person to represent the MSA at EFA (European Driving Schools Association) meetings.
As a result of his work in Europe Jon was the first to promote, in England, at the MSA’s 1992 national conference in Milton Keynes, the benefits of the French scheme Apprentissage anticipé de la conduite (AAC), the early learning training plan designed to facilitate learning to drive a car from 16 years of age in France.
Although not able to convince the authorities in Great Britain to accept AAC, Jon was delighted a few years later when a scheme aimed at helping new drivers to become better drivers, Pass Plus, was launched. He set up over a dozen training seminars around Britain to explain Pass Plus to ADIs and enlisted the help of a panel of DSA speakers, including Robin Cummins, later the chief driving examiner.
These were not the first meetings Jon organised, indeed he was largely responsible for inventing the MSA ‘garage meeting’ and was hugely instrumental in persuading the DSA that their staff, particularly those responsible for examining and checking ADIs, the SEs (ADI) as they were then known, should attend ADI meetings. The examiners responded generously with their time and with the passing on of their knowledge, something which many continue to do to this day.
At the service to celebrate Jon’s life his son, Oliver, provided a moving eulogy. The service was attended by MSA General Manager John Lepine and Jon’s erstwhile colleague in the van, Roy Appleby. MSA West Midlands was represented by Peter Jones.
Jon stopped being employed by the MSA in 1995 but he remained a subscribing member and working ADI and was a great supporter of this association. When Jon left the MSA he wrote an open letter to members that was published in Newslink. In the closing paragraph he wrote “For all of you who have supported the MSA through my time, I say a sincere ‘Thank You’. Let us continue to give this unique organisation, our own association, all the support it deserves in its important work on our behalf.”
Jon was a genuinely nice bloke who brought out the best in others, an accomplished driver trainer who also trained new ADIs, and a man who was passionate about road safety and the MSA. However, no words about Jon’s life would be complete without acknowledgement of his love of Indian food.
Supreme van salesman, meeting organiser, curry eater and Bombay Duck connoisseur, RIP Jon Gross.
Jon is survived by his wife, Patricia, and son Oliver, to whom the MSA extends sincere condolences.