Sheldon Edward Grossman
May 29, 1938 - March 26, 2023
Sheldon Edward Grossman
May 29, 1938 - March 26, 2023
Sheldon Edward Grossman was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 29, 1938, to Dora Safer Grossman (Lithuanian immigrant to USA in 1925) and Harry Grossman (son of Russian and Polish immigrants to USA in 1880’s). Sheldon joined much older siblings, brother Ben Zion, and sister Eileen, in a very traditional orthodox Jewish home. The family moved to central Florida, where Jewish communities were scattered through the generally undesirable rural and swampy areas, residing near Leesburg and Ocala. Just before starting his first grade, the family moved to Jacksonville, FL, where his father volunteered as an air raid warden in their neighborhood during World War II. At the end of seventh grade, he completed his Bar Mitzvah in Jacksonville, and then the family moved to Gainesville, FL, enabling Sheldon’s father to work in his uncle’s recycling and scrap business. He graduated from the new Gainesville High School in 1956, and then volunteered for the army, serving his enlistment of three years working with defensive Nike Ajax missiles, stationed mostly on Long Island, N.Y.
After military service, Sheldon attended University of Florida, in Gainesville, graduating in 1963 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Accounting. During college he married Jennie Lee Negin in June 1960, had a daughter, Rachel, in 1964, and ended the marriage in 1965. While in college, Sheldon worked for Hartman Construction Company. Upon college graduation, Sheldon worked for General Electric as a cost accountant, and then worked for the City of Gainesville as an accountant. In 1969, he accepted an accounting position with Aetna Life Insurance in the Tampa area, beginning a 25-year career with Aetna.
In 1967 Sheldon married Karen (Vicki) Vicars, and they had a son, Stewart, in 1970, and a daughter, Kimberly, in 1973. Sheldon’s career with Aetna took them from Tampa, to Hartford, Conn for a year and a half, and then to Seattle, WA and a more moderate climate. Sheldon refused to accept work assignments in any other major cities, and became the manager of Aetna’s Seattle Medicare Audit Office, with a number of employees he was responsible for hiring, training, deploying, overseeing, etc. Based on his successful work, he also developed training workshops to share information with other managers in Aetna around the country. During this time, the family lived on the north side of greater Seattle, in the community of Bothell. They participated at Bothell United Methodist Church. Sheldon supported his family with such activities as youth soccer, and coveted road trips to Disneyworld and Mt. Rushmore. Sheldon and Vicki ended their marriage in 1985.
In 1987, Sheldon and Gail (Pullar) Jones were introduced through mutual friends at Bothell United Methodist Church, began dating, and married in 1988. They lived on the north side of Bothell, and both continued to enjoy their jobs in King County. In 1994, having completed 25 years with Aetna, Sheldon took early retirement, Gail resigned from her job, and they moved to the Bellingham, WA area to fulfill their longer term retirement plans.
Over the next 28+ years they built two houses, lived in beautiful areas of the north Puget Sound region, became avid walkers, and enjoyed many trips, including two visits to Hawaii and an Alaska cruise, as well as many East Coast trips to visit relatives, and numerous tours of national parks. Sheldon worked some simple part-time jobs for fun, including eleven summer seasons with the Bellingham Parks Department, mostly working at Fairhaven Park, which he thoroughly loved, and made many fast friends. When he finally stopped working for bits of pay, he volunteered to pick up litter at city parks, which he did until the last year of his life. Sheldon was an accomplished handgun marksman, and usually had the most accurate targets at the conclusion of the sessions at Plantation Range. He was a movie enthusiast and loved going to the movie theater. He enjoyed collecting commemorative coins, and valued taking meticulous care of every car he ever had. Sheldon was a regular participant at Garden Street United Methodist Church. He treasured spending time with his grandchildren, and also had many close friends, both men and women, that he loved socializing with, sharing a meal, or walking together. Two months before his death, Sheldon and Gail celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary at a quiet dinner with two close friends.
In his last years, he found himself in a battle with Lewy Body Dementia, which would eventually sap his strength and distort his mind. He was grateful for his many friends and family who saw this through to the end with him. Sheldon was 84 years old at his death. He is preceded in death by his parents, brother Ben, sister Eileen, his in-laws Basil and Kathryn Pullar, and beloved friends Ronny, Dan, Jerry, Sue, and Ray, and special mother-friend Marie. He’s survived by his wife Gail; son and daughter-in-law Stewart and Lisa Grossman; daughter and son-in-law Kimberly and Paul Roney; daughter and son-in-law Rachel and Steve Galper; grandchildren Scott, Shane, Thomas, Marlee, and Nathan, brother-in-law Marvin Pullar, numerous beloved nieces and nephews, many cousins, and “family” friends Bill Nelsen, and Kevin Mills, and their families.
A Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. at Garden Street United Methodist Church (this church currently meeting at 2401 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225, in the building of First Congregational Church). Rev. Kathy Hartgraves will officiate. All are welcome, a reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to:
- Garden Street United Methodist Church, to make a donation to the Bellingham Food Bank in Sheldon’s name, a program he strongly supported through the church: (Garden Street UMC, P.O. Box 308, Bellingham, WA 98227-0308).
- National Downs Syndrome Society (ndss.org)
- Lewy Body Dementia Association (www.lbda.org)