In Memoriam
Giuliano Grossi
November 8, 1929 - September 2, 2004

National Italian Roller Skating Champion   ♦   Italian Junior Men's Figure Skating Champion
Italian National Figure Skating Champion Runner Up and 1952 Olympics alternate to Carlo Fassi
Star, Director, and Choreographer of Holiday on Ice   ♦   One time skating partner of Sonja Henie
USFSA and ISI Coach and one of Scott Hamilton's Instructors
Flamenco Dancer, Interior Decorator, Beloved Coach, Language Teacher, and Friend to all

Giuliano's Memorial Service

USFSA Memorial Scholarship Fund

Giuliano's father Giuseppe and Giuliano with his mother Maria

Dear Friends of Giuliano,

We have created this web site in memory of Giuliano Grossi with the hope that it will evolve into a scrapbook that celebrates his life and how it touched so many of us. If you have anything you would like to share or if you would like to be included in our email distribution list, please send a message to the following email address:

Douglas & Melissa Scarfeo

I stumbled across this website quite by accident today. I was a student at Ohio State University in 1973 when Mr. Grossi came to town, and I was lucky enough to convince him to take me on as a skating student.

I have been thinking recently about all the young people that I watched grow under his tutelage, the Youmans sisters, Ted Masdea, Sara Staehle, Lisa Delaney, the Deyos - and I was so happy to see their photos and messages as part of the tribute to a wonderful man.

Even though I only knew him for a little while, and thoroughly enjoyed the lessons he gave me, I am also happy to know that he truly was an inspiration to all the children I came to know and enjoy during my last year at Ohio State.

I'm sure his legacy will live on.

Robin I. Solomon

It's very hard for me to accept that Giuliano, Mr. Grossi, is gone. He was a most important person in my life. We spent a great deal of time together both on and off the ice when I was a child and when I was an adult. I was at the rink with him 6 days a week, 6 to 8 hours a day, from when I was 9 yrs. old until I turned sixteen. During breaks between practices, I used to take naps at his apartment; we would also go out for frozen yogurt. I remember the Indian woman who served the yogurt, she was his friend, and the nuts and raisins he would put on his yogurt as a topping. Giuliano was always very health conscious.

Giuliano nurtured my ability to express myself through movement to a high degree. I would say that expressive movement and the spiritual connection it brings me is one of the most meaningful aspects of my life. Giuliano encouraged this relationship to movement in me. He used to set me free to improvise. That was the most fun for us. I do that to this day, only through theatre now. He encouraged me to skate from my heart with a refined attention to artistry. I am so deeply grateful to him for this. The lessons he taught me about body positioning are deep in my muscles. He knew how to "talk" to the body. He knew how to analyze positioning problems and how to set things on course to achieve the most grace, flow, speed, lift. He was a master teacher of skating and art. He was like a sculptor who could see the graceful form in a piece of rock, or in our case, wiggly little kids. He really had it all. He excelled at teaching figures, spins, jumps, footwork, artistic style in skating and the embodied concept of flow. (He used to bark when I was doing figures, "It looks like there's a wind storm blowing through your blades!" I could be so all over the place. I always thought this expression was pretty funny, though I didn't laugh, that would've just added to the wind storm.) He was a terrific choreographer and music designer. He would invite me to come up with my own choreographic ideas. I loved that! He understood and transmitted the manners of being a self respecting artist, athlete, and person of thoughtful intent. He was also great at teaching "showmanship". I felt that he always brought out the best in his students, though often in a fearsome way which scared many of us when we were young. He was an old-style teacher, a classical teacher, both in attitude and attention to technique and art. He was brilliant, creative, passionate and extremely focused. It was very sad for me to see how undervalued he was in the skating community of California (at least when I was still skating.) But he liked the beach!

I always felt badly, like I had let Giuliano down, because I did not progress further in the figure skating competition circuit. I progressed far in terms of skill because of him and that was a wonderful experience. I felt that I had failed, though, because I believed I let events in my life hurt me too much and hadn't been tough enough to be the winner that would have been a tribute to all our hard work, our love and devotion, our aspirations. But, a few years ago, after I had gone through a painful time taking care of a family member who was ill, I confessed to Giuliano that I was sorry that I was so grief stricken that I had fallen out of touch with him for several months. He said, very lovingly, "Oh, Sara, it's people that feel so much that are close to God." What a gift he gave me in that moment. I stopped feeling so bad about feeling so much. He was a deep soul.

Giuliano attended my wedding just two months ago. He sat at a table with my husband Robert, my father Roger, and me. Robert said, looking at my dad and Giuliano, "Here sit the two men who have had the greatest impact on your life." As a wedding present Giuliano gave my husband and me a beautiful Italian glass vase. It sits in our living room with graceful brush strokes of gold, yellow and black lifting off the blue background and streaming up, up, up. You are in my heart and soul, Giuliano. Your lessons and your love. Thank you.

Sara (Staehle) Henry

I first met Giuliano Grossi when I moved to California in 1987 and began taking skating lessons from him. He was a wonderful coach but he was so also so much more. He was a mentor, father-figure and friend. He had a zest for life and always had a positive attitude. He believed in me, even when I did not believe in myself. He taught me to be confident and positive and work hard to reach my goals. Guiliano always said "there is no dress rehearsal for life, you must live it now". He did just that- he lived every moment. Words cannot express what Giuliano meant to me. My life is fuller having known him and he will be deeply missed. Thank you Mr. Grossi....for everything.

Charlene Ruch

Giuliano, 1973 with Ted Masdea, 1973
- photos contributed by Debra (Barden) Boyer -

I, too, was one of the "Grossi Girls" in Columbus in the 1970s. That was an identity that we were proud of. We know we had a coach of unusual ability, who never skimped on the time it took to develop basic skating skills, but emphasized stroking, form, and musicality. (Oh, and ... perfect tracing, going fast, landing jumps ....) He arranged summer schools that drew skaters from several states. I remember he invited a Russian ballet mistress once. He knew enough Russian to discuss ballet methods with her quite heatedly and animatedly, much to our amusement. He replaced her with gentle Joanie Moret, who helped us greatly for a number of years. Mr. Grossi took us to Colorado and California to train with champions, and we enjoyed spending more relaxed time with him on those trips. We missed him after he moved to California, but we were thankful to know that he was prosperous and happy there.

Debra (Barden) Boyer

Columbus students and families visiting in Colorado, circa 1974
L-R standing: Karen Staehle, Mr. Grossi, Charlotte Barden, Mr. & Mrs. Roland;
L-R sitting: Julie Youmans, Debra Barden, a Roland, Lisa Youmans, Sarah Staehle,
Ted Masdea, Erin Staehle, another Roland
- photo contributed by Debra (Barden) Boyer -

When combination spins were becoming all the rage, Mr. Grossi once commented during one of my lessons that skaters used to concentrate on holding a beautiful position for five -ten fast revolutions for a good spin, but now it was "camel spin, sit spin, back sit spin, change to front sit spin, stand up, eat a piece of toast..." That comment tickled me then and I always remembered it.

Carrie Deyo

Giuliano in performance with
Sonja Henie, Gutenborg, Sweden, 1955

A party at Giuliano's apartment in Gutenborg, Sweden, 1955 and Sonja dropped by!

Giuliano entered our lives in early 1968, at the ice arena in Bowling Green, Ohio. Pam and Carrie (our older two daughters) had recently started private lessons. I soon noticed Giuliano. He came from Fort Wayne on a regular schedule with three of his students: Barbara Berquist, Rhonda Meeks, and Sandy Marvo. Giuliano's dedication to his students was evident even to me, a newcomer to the world of skating. Also, I sensed a touch of magic in his music and choreography.

Soon, Pam and Carrie began lessons with Giuliano. Later, Marianne, (our 3rd daughter) became a 'Grossi Girl' too. Fort Wayne, Bowling Green, East Lansing, Michigan, Cleveland, and then.....Columbus!

Not long after Giuliano arrived in Columbus for our first summer school, he was shot. When I visited him at the hospital, his mood was far better than mine. Sitting up, with bandages and an arm sling, Giuliano was smiling! He explained to me how very lucky he was; the shooter had bad aim and could not hit the intended target area....Giuliano's heart.

So many memories: Giuliano's mother taking her very young son to the opera house in Milan; Sonja Henie and the cape and the sequins stories; Holiday on Ice; and skating across a lake ( Lucerne?) in Switzerland, getting 'way too cold.

Since Giuliano moved to California, Bruce and I have seen him only twice, in 1987, and again in 1999, at Adult Nationals in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was just like old times.

Bye-bye, for now, Giuliano.

Bruce and Bev Deyo

Giuliano with former student Scott Hamilton
and Christopher Gaddis circa 1985

Hello Douglas,

My name is Darlene Gilbert and earlier this month I achieved 61 years of age. I am telling you this because I have known Giuliano since I was 15, and he was so much a part of my regular, everyday awareness. You know, when you think of your handful of friends: he was in the group.

After my competitive skating ended I began teaching at his summer skating school in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I did this for several summers. Of course I knew Pucci (who absolutely loved my husband, Jerry, when she finally met him many years later) and her friend, Virginia. We taught at other skating schools together as well, and I remember his entertaining stories about being in the shows with Sonja Henni.

Later I moved to California and began working at Frank Zamboni's rink in Paramount, California. I ran into Giuliano at a friends house in Laguna Beach and learned he wanted to move to California as well. I remember how successful he was in the Midwest and in particular, Columbus, Ohio. I am not certain why he decided to move, but I do remember he was victim of an in-home robbery while living in Ohio and even was shot during this incident. He even made this story funny.

Anyway he moved into our apartment building on Ocean Blvd., and began teaching at Iceland Skating Rink. It was our honor to have the pleasure of his company at many holiday dinners with my parents. It was also our honor to be his witnesses when he became a United States Citizen. We were so proud to be friends.

Giuliano and I shared a passion for decorating, and he was an inspiration to me. In fact, today, my home reflects many of his ideas about color and design.

Twelve years ago we moved to Temecula. My father had passed away and my mother lived with us until her passing three years ago. When he was able to visit it was a special treat especially for my mother who was always so comfortable with him.

This distance between us left us with mostly phone conversations. I wanted to try to take his Italian classes, but all we could arrange was his checking up on my Spanish.

In conclusion we were nicely connected, and I so wanted to tell someone. I cannot listen to Luis Miguel without thinking of Giuliano. I remember what fun we always had when we were able to dance together. He was a great dancer and made me feel great too. I cannot decorate anything without reflecting on his tastes and ideas - how would he have done it?

I am so happy to know he has lovely family members like yourself. Your letters reflect so much compassion for his friends, I felt you might take the time to read my letter to you. It is also so wonderful to know how many people loved him and appreciated his life. He will remain in my heart forever.

Very sincerely,

Darlene Gilbert

Giuliano scrutinizing the judges results of a Freestyle 2
competition at Paramount Iceland on 9/24/95.
Steffie Lucchesi, grinning, already knew she'd won!
- photos contributed by Karen Lucchesi -

I knew Guiliano, [perhaps] not as well as others, but always remembered him as a very kind and friendly person who genuinely loved skating and the skaters themselves. I was truly blessed to have known him and will miss his friendly face at test sessions.

Sherie Grimson

Pamela Deyo, Giuliano, Dolores Mezyk -
Adult Nationals, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1999
Giuliano with student Cathy Schacht -
Adult Nationals, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1999
- photos contributed by Pamela Deyo -

Giuliano was my motivating force to re-introduce figures to one of the rinks where I currently still skate. It's been a year now since it's caught on and we still have one hour of figures each Sunday morning! I know that next time I'm on the ice, Giuliano will be right there with me!

Pamela Deyo

Giuliano trying to teach a young Steffie Lucchesi at Paramount Iceland how to stroke. Taken 5/8/92 Giuliano wearing one of his favorite coats. With Steffie Lucchesi after winning a Beta level event at Paramount Iceland on 1/16/93
- photos contributed by Karen Lucchesi -

[Early in life, Guiliano discovered he had athletic ability.] First he trained as a runner. Then he took up roller skating & became the Senior Champion in 1948. In 1952 he was the Italian alternate to the Olympic games behind Carlo Fassi. He also won Silver in Senior Dance. Later he toured as a star in Holiday on Ice & partnered with Sonja Henie. At the age of 33 he came to the United States in 1963. He coached in Columbus, OH; Detroit, MI; & Ft. Wayne, IN. His most famous student was Scott Hamilton. In 1978 he came to Paramount's Iceland in California. There he coached both USFSA & ISI (formerly ISIA) students in figures, stroking, dance, freestyle, jazz & ballet. He coached at several other local rinks including Side by Side, Lakewood's Glacial Gardens & Westminster. Then in his spare time he taught Conversational Italian & Spanish for the Cities of Long Beach & Huntington Beach. In all he could speak five languages. Masterfully he would edit his "old" record albums into the best competition music. He would host parents & students at his home in his great European gentlemanly way, proudly showing all his archives of skating photos & tapes. He LOVED what he did!

We have known Giuliano for over 14 years. Thirteen years he was our daughter Steffie's private coach. She last skated with him in January of this year, due to her college schedule. Plans had been to skate with him in August but her internship got in the way. A week before he died he called and left a message on our answering machine with his usual opening "This is Giuliano speaking" to congratulate her on her accomplishment. (We saved it.) Monthly we talked to him. If he wasn't checking up on Steffie, he was checking up on our health & updating us on his health plus his current activities. Figures & technique were the most important elements to him, although skating in time to the music with an artistic flare was a close second! His initial gruff exterior melted away when you got to know him & truly appreciate his talents. He was more than a mentor & perfectionist but a true, caring friend to each of his students & their families as well. Not only did he teach our daughter great technique, perseverence, the value of practice, love of music, but respect for everyone. He helped encourage her to excel at everything including her morals, faith, drumming & cartooning. Later he also became her Spanish tutor & even drove to our church to teach her there. If needed he would pick her up & drive her to the rink. Others he also drove to school. He even came to outside of the rink performances. He gave free extra time on the ice beyond the scheduled lesson time. In an expensive sport we appreciated that Giuliano gave in this way.

Even when he was off the ice due to his cancer surgeries, he wouldn't quit. Soon he'd announce how many steps he'd accomplished or how many miles he'd walked. He tried to always stay active & healthy. Soon he'd be right back at the rink.

Post competition in Pasadena on 5/2/94
- photos contributed by Karen Lucchesi -

We constantly encouraged him to write all his stories down, but sadly he never did. We will always smile remembering how Sonja Henie would sew onto her costume extra sequins right where he needed to grab/catch her & that's all he'd get! Another time he became so frustrated with her when she could not get it that a bull fighter's cape should be held to the side & not right in front of her. He couldn't believe the poor shape of Russian ice rinks or their ballet theater seats. In South Africa he was surrounded by machine guns as he took center ice to perform. He had been unaware that it was illegal there to show your belly button. Quickly he added a sash & all was well! He could adapt to any culture. He hated that patch/figures were eliminated from skating. (And Scott Hamilton's Olympic Gold was due to his patch scores.)

Our family still really can't believe he's gone. He still had so much to offer especially to the skating world & his many friends. Giuliano was a man of dignity & talent that can never be replaced. We were so blessed to have had him in our lives & we will miss him terribly. It still doesn't seem real that he's gone especially since he ended his last phone message to us with "well bye-bye for now".

Karen Lucchesi

Giuliano is looking at the unauthorized book on Scott Hamilton written by Michael Steere. Looking on are Steffie Lucchesi, Jade & Skye Wheeler. Taken at a practice session at Pasadena prior to an upcoming competition. Taken 4/24/93 Giuliano & Steffie Lucchesi leaving the ice after a practice session at Iceland Paramount. Notice he is carrying competition music tapes. Taken 12/29/92
- photos contributed by Karen Lucchesi -

He was such a wonderful [Italian] instructor and had such great patience for those novices like me! I took his class over at El Dorado Center twice and also took a more advanced class and always marveled at his teaching techniques, as I spent 13 years at USC teaching graduate school.

Bob Zambenini

Summer Competition 1973
(L to R) Lisa Youmans, Ken Kawiecki, Marianne Deyo, Lisa Delaney,
Debbie Barden, Sara Staehle, Carrie Deyo, Pam Deyo, Julie Youmans, Ted Masdea

I had "Mr Grossi" as I knew him then, for my skating coach from the time I was 12 till I was around 19. He was an amazing coach and my technique in skating has always stemmed from his teachings. From Bowling Green, to Fort Wayne, Cleveland, Troy OH, Lansing, to Columbus Ohio, we went where Mr Grossi went!

During summers on the ice at Iceland in Columbus, we spent long hours on the ice doing figures and occaisionally needed some humor to break the silence. So we skaters would plan a "RAID" at the end of the patch session just to get a laugh out of Mr Grossi! We'd wait for the que and then someone would yell "RAID"! and we'd all stop doing our figures and lay on our backs on the ice with our feet and hands in the air like a bunch of bugs caught on the ice. Guiliano would always laugh at our antics!

I will always treasure the memories of Guiliano. He was very respected and well liked among us all. Every time I skate I think of something he told me to remember to do to make a move better. His spirit will always be with me on the ice.

Pamela Deyo

Giuliano with Bunty Bamford
the new skating pros for the
Fort Wayne Ice Skating Club in 1962
Did anyone know that Giuliano
had been shot in Ohio?

Giuliano was a wonderful man with a great spirit.

Steve and Esther Rivero

We were sorry to hear about the passing of Giuliano Grossi. He was a wonderful man. He made great contributions to ice-skating during his life both through his own accomplishments and through his coaching.

He will be missed.

Mark and Dorothy Owens

Mr. Grossi had a profound effect on me and my family. He is the first person that made me aware of body positioning. This is an awareness that has served me in my profession (trial attorney) and personal life. He will be missed.

Beth Krier

Jo Ann Farris and newborn Joel Benjamin
Christmas 1993
Jo Ann Farris late 1989 or early 1990
- photos contributed by Jo Ann Farris -

Giuliano was a dear friend of mine and one of the best "skating masters." He was one of Scott Hamilton's first coaches.

I had the privilege of getting to know him in 1985 when I began coaching at Iceland in Paramount, California, the rink owned by the famous Zamboni family.

He loved skating and was a perfectionist and skating master. He was known as Mr. Grossi to his students.

He, like Carlo Fassi, had been an Italian skating champion. He had also been a roller skating champion in Italy. After "turning pro" he had been a star in Holiday on Ice. He came to America to teach in the early 1960s, and I believe taught in Troy, Ohio and also in Cincinnati. He also coached in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

He built a top skating program from scratch and then moved to southern California for his students to train in the warmer climate. In southern California, he never built up the top clientele he had in the Mid-west, but was well respected by everyone in figure skating.

I spent hours and hours watching him teach in my early days of teaching, and much of the way I teach today is based on his teaching methods. Yes, he was my mentor and friend.

Together, we ran the first ISI Open Competition at Iceland in 1987, and by working together, we became close friends. When I took over the position of Skating Director at Iceland, he continued to mentor and advise me.

I will miss Giuliano and will always remember his love of figure skating. He touched many in our sport. He touched my life.

JO ANN Schneider Farris

I am still in such deep shock and grief over Giuliano's sudden and unexpected death. I first came to know him about twenty-two years or so ago when he was my daughter Alexandra's skating coach. While Alex ( who always respected and adored "Mr. Grossi), eventually moved away from skating, my friendship with him grew. Through the years we took Flamenco classes together, performed, he decorated my house, attended Alex's deb ball and wedding, celebrated holidays with my family, and met for literally hundreds of lattes. I count him as one of my true, best friends. Giuliano was always willing to traverse L.A. with me at any hour to attend concerts, juergas, or to offer support. Since I decided to begin teaching elementary school, I wasn't able to spend as much time with Giuliano as I would have liked. Nevertheless, we still managed to discuss world affairs, the fate of the future of California, or dance and skating from time to time. I still could call him for decorating advice and we planned to shop just this past weekend for fabric. In short, he was always there for me. Giuliano will never be "gone." He gave too much for that. I just will never completely accept that he isn't here physically and that I'll never again answer the phone to hear, " This is Giuliano speaking..." My husband John, my daughter Alexandra, and I miss him.

Marilyn Bartos

Skye Wheeler, Giuliano, and Jade Wheeler, the ISA Open at Iceland circa 1993
- photo contributed by Sylvia Wheeler -