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Arnold Henry GROTH

Obituary Condolences

Arnold Henry GROTH Obituary
Arnold Henry GROTH

July 11, 1918 ~ December 3, 2012

Arnold "Arnie" Groth died peacefully, though unexpectedly from a sudden cardiac arrest in the late morning of December 3, at the wonderful age of 94. Though he was at Swedish Hospital for complications relating to bladder cancer, he had just received encouraging news from his "favorite oncologist", Dr. Henry Li, that his condition had stabilized and he was "prescribing" a trip to the desert. But the day before our father died, he had remarked, "I really miss your mom, I really want to see her", and we believe that is where he was headed that December morning.

A resident of Mirabella in Seattle, our father was known for his positive spirit, his infectious smile, his beautiful blue eyes, his warm handshake and smooth golf swing---but most of all, for his hugs--they made you feel cared for and loved. One of his favorite words to describe someone he admired was "genuine", and that was our father to the core. He was genuine, the real deal, and by his sheer presence we all felt better, happier, special.

The son of Violet Bode and Arnold W Groth, Arnie was born and raised with his sister, June, in Portland, Oregon. He attended Alameda Grammar School and graduated from Grant High School where he was on the football team. At Tamalpais Prep School in San Rafael, California he played basketball and continued to pursue his love of golf, which started as a pre-teen when he caddied for his father at Glendoveer Golf Course, later playing the game at Waverly Golf Club in Portland. In 1937, Arnie began another love affair, that with the University of Washington. While earning his degree in Economics and Business, he pledged Phi Delta Theta, played freshman football and baseball, was sophomore class president and played on the Husky golf team for three years, graduating from the UW in 1941.

That same year, Arnie joined the US Navy. During World War II, he served as a navigator on the fleet oiler, USS Cayama, which fueled the task forces in the North and South Pacific. After the war, Arnie taught navigation and seamanship in NROTC units at both the University of South Carolina and Georgia Tech. He continued as a naval reservist reaching the rank of Commander.

In 1944, Arnie married the love of his life, Iola Brown, who he had met on a double date at the UW. They were married at St Stephen's Chapel, which her parents, Robert and Iola Brown helped build, and where Arnie later served on the church vestry. One of his wedding gifts to our mother was season tickets to the Husky football games, possibly one of the secrets to 67 years of a happy marriage. They took the train to Santa Barbara, honeymooned in Geranium Cottage at San Ysidro Ranch, then returned to Seattle where they settled down in Laurelhurst and raised their two daughters, Robin and Lollie. Arnie's first job was with Van Waters and Rogers. But soon he had the opportunity to buy an interest in Packer-Scott, a sanitary maintenance supply company which he later owned for 42 years. Many of the 25 employees he had hired over that time were still with him on the day he sold the company and retired in 1986.

Arnie was an early member of the Tyee Advisory Board, a lifetime member of the President's Club UW Alumni Association, a longtime member of the Seattle Rotary Club, Men's University Club, and Seattle Golf Club. He also served on the board of trustees at Northwest Hospital. From 1966-71, he was the Master of Ceremonies for the Seattle Chapter of Scholar Athlete Awards for the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, an honor that gave him great joy.

But it was the game of golf that was Arnie's greatest passion. It was his sport and he excelled at it. He was a fine competitor, winning numerous tournaments in the Pacific Northwest. Arnie was club president at the Seattle Golf Club in 1971-72 and club champion in 1973. He was a member of Washington State Seniors and in 1981, grand champion of Seniors Northwest Golf Association. Arnie was especially known for "shooting his age" or below. Since turning 69, he had shot his age 380 times, the last time at 93. Over the years, our parents had many adventures on five continents- our father's favorites were on the ancient golf links of Scotland and Ireland. But in the end, it was a sunny day in Seattle that he preferred, his club in hand, the challenge ahead, and friends to share it with---those were the game's great gifts.

Arnie was pre-deceased by his wife, Iola, and is survived by his two daughters, Robin Groth of Seattle and Lollie Groth of Maui, his sister June Leonard and nephew, Dr. Hubert Leonard of Portland, Oregon. Walter, his pug dog and grand-cat Sam, will miss sitting on Arnie's lap watching any and all sports at the "yellow house" on Burton Beach, Vashon.

Our family would like to thank Drs. Marc Cordova and Joseph Marquez, the oncology unit at Swedish Hospital and the nursing staff at Mirabella for our father's excellent and compassionate care. A memorial service will be held at the Seattle Golf Club on Saturday, February 9th, 2013 at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: University of Washington (Arnie Groth Golf Memorial), University of Washington Athletics, Tyee Office, Box 354070, Seattle, Wa 98195.
Published in The Seattle Times on Jan. 27, 2013
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