Mari-Anne Dombu Gross

Mari-Anne Dombu Gross left a void in our universe when she departed Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

Mari-Anne Dombu Gross left a void in our universe when she departed Tuesday, June 6, for the next life. She was born in Rjukan, Norway, on September 27, 1940, to Gunvor and Martin Dombu. Sadly, her father died a month later. Her mother took Mari-Anne and her two-year-old brother, Sivert, to live on the Dombu family farm near Meldal, Norway, where her mother-in-law Anna Andrea Dombu and her brother-in-law Arne Dombu resided, thus avoiding the ugliness of the Nazi Heavy Water Works in Rjukan. When Mari-Anne was eleven, she emigrated with her mother and brother to the USA in 1952. Mari-Anne became a part of the Slette family when her mother married Oscar Slette, and they lived on a farm near Twin Vally, MN. There she got her firm foundation in family values.

Always a bit independent, Mari-Anne took a job as a live-in babysitter for a family in Fargo, N.D., so that she could attend Fargo Central High School. Dreaming of being an astronomer, she went one year to Concordia State Teachers College until, becoming more focused on engineering, she transferred across the river to North Dakota State University.

Marianne enrolled in Electrical Engineering, destined to be the first female Electrical Engineer in North Dakota. On the first day of her sophomore year, Sep. 1960, she was the only girl in the calculus class. The last student to enter the classroom took the only empty seat next to Mari-Anne. That young man was Maynard Gross and thus began a lifetime storybook adventure. They graduated in the spring of 1963 as Electrical Engineers and were married three weeks later, on June 16, 1963, at Saint Olaf Lutheran Church, Faith, MN.

While Maynard went to work for Western Electric, Mari-Anne went the higher education route at Northwestern University. When she completed her Master’s degree, she joined her husband in California and quickly found employment with Raytheon Intelligence and Space in Goleta, CA. More than two-week vacations were needed to satisfy her wanderlust. They took a leave of absence, bought a motorhome, and began a one-year adventure traveling in North America. The first destination was Alaska. One day in Homer, Labor Day, 1970, was sufficient for Mari-Anne to declare this their future home.

Four years later, they arrived in Homer with one-year-old Erik. They set up a business on Pioneer Ave. as K-Comm (the building known to many as Mary Epperson’s Etude Studio), specializing in marine electronics for the fishing community. Mari-Anne ran the business, and Maynard fixed whatever needed fixing. Finding no Lutheran church in Homer, they joined the Homer United Methodist Church. After Annelisa was born in 1977, Mari-Anne thought they should live in a good and proper house, so they built the house they raised their family in. Mari-Anne focused her energy on school and church activities, boy scouts, and girl scouts. She always rose to a leadership position in all her activities, including the Kenai Peninsula School Board, Association of Alaska School Boards, Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission, United Methodist Women, and Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club.

She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Maynard, son Erik (Debbie) Gross, grandchildren Roy and Carina Gross, daughter Annelisa (Jason) Neely, sister-in-law Adis (Sivert) Dombu and step-sister-in-law Grace (Darrol) Nichols, as well as many members of the Dombu, Fredriksen, Lovseth, and Slette clans.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Gunvor Slette, father Martin Dombu, stepfather Oscar Slette, brother Sivert Dombu, stepbrother Paul Slette, and stepsisters Gladys Tilleraas and Charlotte Paskey.

A celebration of life will be held at the Homer United Methodist Church at 3:00 pm on July 15th.