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Dr. Richard "Dick" Gromen was born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 3, 1930. He was the only child of Jack Gromen and Rena Calcagni Gromen. His grandparents immigrated from Groussau, Romania and the Lake Como region in Italy. He loved to talk about his Transylvanian heritage and the lessons learned from his Italian grandmother. On January 27, 1951, Dick married Joyce M. Pawlak Gromen. They remained happily married for more than 50 years, until her passing in 2002. They are survived by three children: Margot L. Geisler, married to Rich Geisler, Doreen R. Mathas, married to Bob Mathas, and Richard J Gromen, Jr, married to Myra L. Gromen; and four grandchildren: Melissa L. Senkalski, Rhiann K. Senkalski, Dylan B. Gromen, and Kayla E. Gromen. Dick passed away on June 12, 2014, surrounded by his children and his grandson.
Dick graduated from Parma Schaaf High School in 1949, and spent the summer working as a cowboy on a ranch in Hyannia, Nebraska. He enrolled in Adelbert College in the fall and received his B.A. in 1953. He was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and Phi Alpha Theta National Honor Society. After Adelbert College changed their name to Western Reserve, he received a request for an alumni donation. Normally very generous to the school, he sent a $1 alumni donation in protest of the new name. He received his M.A. from Western Reserve in 1961 and his Ph.D. in 1969. When Western Reserve merged with Case to become Case Western University, he received another request for money. True to form, he again sent a $1 donation to protest the name change. While in college, he worked in the classified ad department at Cleveland News and for Parma Cut Stone. He became the office manager at Parma Cut Stone and worked there until 1960. From 1960 through 1964, he was a teacher and summer school director for Brunswick High School and also worked as an accountant and bookkeeper at Broadview Savings and Loan in Cleveland.
Dick moved his family to Edinboro in 1964, when he accepted a position to teach British History at Edinboro State College. He spent the remainder of his work life at Edinboro. He was primarily a professor during his tenure at Edinboro, however, he also served as head of the History Department and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. When Edinboro changed their name and became a University, he protested by establishing the Richard J. and Joyce M. Gromen Scholarship at the University. He authored British Historians and their Views of British Policy of Appeasement (1931-1939) and contributed to numerous historical abstracts and journals. While at Edinboro, he served as treasurer of the Edinboro Foundation, Vice President for Americans for Competitive Enterprise Systems, and was on the Board of Directors for the school's United Cerebral Palsy Joint Council and the Luther V. Hendricks Memorial Fund Committee.
He played baseball and basketball as a boy and was always watching or listening to a game throughout his life. For many years after his children graduated from high school, he attended General McLane football games on Friday night and Edinboro Fighting Scot games on Saturday. An avid fan of the Indians and Browns, he would always tell his family that as a very young boy in the 30's, he would take the trolley downtown to watch the games and meet up with his mother after she was done working. After he retired, Dick spent his winters in Cape Coral, but tried not to head south until the Browns finished their final home game. As a season ticket holder of the Browns, he usually stayed until the bitter end of even the coldest games; always the endless optimist. He coached Little League, Senior League and Big League baseball and served as President of TriBoro Little League for ten years. He was a Life member of the NEA, and held memberships in the American Historical Assn., Erie County Historical Society, Organization of American Historians, AAUP, APSCURF, Siebenbuerger Club, Erie Maennerchor Club, the Loyal Order of the Moose, B.P.O.E., Kiwanis, Cape Coral Italian-American Club, and the Sweethearts Club. Although he was not Irish, his favorite holiday became St. Patrick's Day. He threw many St. Patty's Day parties, normally with a keg of green beer for his guests. When he began to spend March in the south, he would have the party in Florida. To show his friends in Edinboro that they were not forgotten, he began to have a half way to St. Patty's Day party every September 17th. In addition to sports, Dick loved bridge, dancing, movies, sailing and the theater. Most of all, Dick loved his family and friends.
Dick spent his life believing that the standards one sets should be for oneself not for others. He set a high standard for himself and did his best to live up to those standards until the final day of his life here on Earth. He was always a teacher whether he was in or out of the classroom. He encouraged free thinking but did not believe that one should express a view on a controversial issue until one can understand why someone as sincere and honest as oneself can hold the opposite view. Listen and understand both viewpoints before you choose a side. This explains why he always presented multiple options to help solve even the simplest problems. His counsel, optimism and sincerity will be deeply missed.
Friends may call at the Glunt Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 210 Erie Street, Edinboro, on Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. A service will be held there on Thursday at 11:00 a.m., with Dr. James Drane, officiating.
Burial will be in Edinboro Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Crossroads Hospice, 9775 Rockside Road Ste 270, Cleveland, Ohio 44125 or Richard J. Gromen and Joyce M Gromen Scholarship c/o Edinboro University, 219 Meadville St, Edinboro, PA 16444. To send condolences please visit www.gluntfuneralhome.com
Published in the Erie Times-News on June 17, 2014