"Joe was a jack-of-all-trades and 'Talk of the Town' was vignettes about life in Annapolis," said Mr. Jackson. "He was a hard worker."

Retired Anne Arundel County District Judge James W. "Jack" Dryden lives in the same Annapolis neighborhood as Mr. Gross.

"Joe was just a really nice guy who loved people. He loved people and he loved sports, and it was fun to hear him talk about people in sports and how they appeared to be and how they really were," he said. "He was really a raconteur."

The National Sportswriters and Sportscasters named Mr. Gross Maryland Sportswriter of the Year twice, and he earned numerous writing awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors and the Maryland-D.C.-Delaware Press Association.

He was an active member for many years and had served in 1983 as president of the Touchdown Club of Annapolis. He also had been a board member of the Annapolis Boys and Girls Club and had coached recreation teams for the Peninsula Athletic League and the Annapolis Optimists.

Mr. Gross, who lived on West Street, retired in 2007 from The Capital.

At his death, he was working on a book about William C. "Willie" McCool, the Naval Academy cross-country runner and 1983 graduate who was piloting the ill-fated space shuttle Columbia when it disintegrated in 2003 upon re-entry over East Texas, killing all aboard.

Mr. Gross was active in the cultural life of Annapolis and served on the boards of the Annapolis Fine Arts Foundation, Children's Theatre of Annapolis and Annapolis Opera.

Services will be held at noon Tuesday at Congregation Kol Shalom, 1900 Hidden Meadow Lane, Annapolis.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Gross is survived by a son, Max Gross of Annapolis; a daughter, Mara Archer of Tucson, Ariz.; a brother, Frank Gross, and a sister, Diane Levin, both of Cornwall Heights, Pa.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com