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Stories of Giving

People making a difference in the lives of others today and for generations to come. What will be your story?

“Roy and I invested wisely”

“Roy and I invested wisely"

Donita Gross’ membership in our Himebaugh Legacy Circle has turned out to be a great way to honor her late husband, Roy.

“Roy was a very gentle, kind man who took great pride in whatever he was doing,” says Donita. “He also had a wicked sense of humor, sometimes joking, ‘I light up a room when I leave!’”

Roy Gross grew up on a farm near Rosendale and graduated from Goodrich High School in Fond du Lac in 1937. He started at UW-Oshkosh, before World War II interrupted his education.

He cooked for troops in North Africa and Italy, honing his culinary skills as a mess sergeant in the Army. He owned Roy’s Lunch in Neenah for 15 years, before entering the banking business. When Roy’s first wife died, he asked his church’s choir director and talented soloist, Donita Stobaugh, for a favor.

“Roy asked me if I would sing for her funeral, which I was happy to do. We really didn’t date until a couple of years later,” Donita says.

The two married and built a new life in the Fox Cities.  They later spent winters in Arizona until Roy’s death in 2003 after a noble battle with cancer. Donita thought it only fitting to establish the Roy and Donita Gross Charitable Fund in Roy’s honor, a donor-advised endowment fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. Donita has requested the Foundation convert the fund to a field-of-interest endowment fund to distribute planned gifts from Donita’s estate following her lifetime.

The gifts will continue to serve Roy and Donita’s many charitable interests across the country, including her life-long passion for music and theater. In the Fox Cities, the fund provides gifts to the Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, Pillars and a scholarship for non-traditional students at Fox Valley Technical College pursuing careers in the culinary arts, aviation or business management.

“Roy and I were both very fortunate in having been gainfully employed all our lives, and we invested wisely to share the fruits of our labor with others in need,” Donita says.