Betty Gross was born on October 24, 1914, in Rock Island, Illinois. She was one of seven children born to a homemaker mother and a father who worked as a plasterer. She graduated from Canton High School in Canton, Illinois, in 1933. Following graduation, Gross followed her older sister Catherine, who worked in Chicago's Provident Hospital, into the nursing profession.
From 1940 until 1942, Gross worked as staff nurse at Provident Hospital. In 1942, she took a break to continue her education at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She received her degree from Howard University in sociology with a minor in psychology in 1946. In 1951, she received her B.S. in nursing from Loyola University and in 1957, earned an M.S. from DePaul University.
For thirty-one years at Provident Hospital, she worked her way up from staff nurse to the director of Nursing and Nursing Education. During her long career, Gross helped establish two allergy clinics, one at Provident and the other at Howard University's Freedmen Hospital. In 1977, she left Provident and became a lecturer at Chicago State University.
Gross served eight years as a member of the Illinois Nurses Association Board of Directors. She has been a member of Zonta International since 1968, and a member of the Alpha Gamma Pi Honorary Sorority since 1964. Gross passed away in 2005.