Edward Brandon DeGROOT|
Edward was born on October 21, 1927 in Portland, OR and passed away peacefully on July 28, 2013 at his home in Des Moines, WA. Ed was preceded in death by his parents Charles Edward DeGroot and Emily C. McCorkle, wife Mildred and daughter Nancy. He is survived by three children, David (wife Susan), Linda (husband Rocky), and Richard (wife Maureen); granddaughter Hannah; and four step-grandchildren Eric, Emilie, Megan and Alex.
He was raised in central Oregon and graduated from Bend High School and high school ROTC in 1945. During high school he worked as a live-in bellhop at a local hotel and saved his tip money for college. Upon graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp and worked stateside in enlisted personnel work. At the conclusion of his first enlistment he attended Oregon State University utilizing his U.S. and Oregon State G.I. Bill benefits. He studied electrical engineering, was a member of the Theta Xi Fraternity, and graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering-Electrical. He held honorary memberships in Eta Kappa Nu (electrical engineering) and Pi Mu Epsilon (mathematics). After graduation he entered the U.S. Air Force as an electronics officer, graduated from officer and electronics schools, and spent one year in Korean War duty based in Okinawa, Japan, assigned to the ground maintenance of airborne communications and radar equipment. He attained the rank of Captain. He was honorably discharged in 1953 and married his college girlfriend Mildred Louise Darling on July 25, 1953. Ed and Millie moved to The Dalles, OR where he worked as an electrical engineer for Pacific Power and Light. At the suggestion of his cousin, he applied for engineering work with the Boeing Company in Seattle. On the same trip he submitted his application to attend graduate school at the University of Washington. His trip to Seattle was a success on both accounts. Ed worked at Boeing and attended graduate school at the same time starting in 1955. He completed his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering in May 1958. By this time he and Millie had two children, son David (1956) and daughter Nancy (1958). They built their dream home overlooking Puget Sound in 1960. Daughter Linda was born in 1962 and son Richard in 1963. Ed specialized in designing communication systems primarily for missile and space programs. Major assignments included the B-52 bomber program, Minuteman intercontinental missile, Mariner-Venus-Mercury spacecraft, and the Inertial Upper Stage used for boosting Shuttle payloads into higher orbits. In 1974 he received a NASA Public Service Award for engineering contributions to the Mariner design team.
Nancy was born developmentally disabled which led Ed and Millie to include community service in their lives. They co-founded with other parents the South King County Activity Center (SKCAC) in Kent, a not-for-profit sheltered workshop that hires and trains the developmentally disabled in work that matches their individual abilities. When Nancy started attending school at Northwest Center in Seattle they joined parent committees there. Ed served on the board of directors and its finance committee for 25+ years. Millie and Ed with other parents of developmentally disabled children founded United Friends Group Homes in 1974 to build family focused adult living facilities. Today, United Friends operates three group homes housing 22 residents. Ed served on the finance and endowment fund committees for many years and did the bookkeeping for the bingo fundraiser. Nancy lived at the Crown Hill Group from 1978 until her death in 1980. Ed and Millie continued their community service work after Nancy passed away. Both received Distinguished Volunteer Awards from Governor Booth Gardner in May 1992. United Friends Group Homes recognized them for their 30+ years of service with Dedicated and Outstanding Service Awards in April 2006.
What Ed enjoyed most in life was spending time with his family including relaxing at the family beach house in Allyn, WA, family vacations, and annual trips to Oregon taking in the beach at Seaside and fly fishing the Deschutes River near Bend. Ed and Millie traveled to Europe, Africa, and Asia, with annual trips to Hawaii to stay with Millie's sister Dorothy Ann "DA" Meredith. On several of their overseas trips they were accompanied by DA, Millie's brother Ned Darling and his wife Shirley. They were able to travel more after Ed's retirement from Boeing in 1984, having worked there 29 years. Both Ed and Millie suffered with Parkinson's disease so their volunteer work and travel had to be curtailed later in life. After Millie passed away in 2010, Ed moved to the Judson Park Retirement Community in Des Moines, WA.
A memorial service will be held for Edward at 1:00 PM Saturday, September 7, 2013, at the Forest Lawn Funeral Home, 6701 30th Ave SW, Seattle WA 98104. A reception will immediately follow the service.
Memorials may be made to United Friends Group Homes Endowment Fund, Post Office Box 17017, Seattle WA 98127, or to a
Published in The Seattle Times on Aug. 25, 2013