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September 4, 1910 - March 9, 2013
SALEM - Gilbert Groff (102) of Salem, Oregon passed away surrounded by family. Born to Ole Groff and Ingeborg Liahagan Groff, recent Norwegian Immigrants, in Harlow, North Dakota in 1910. Gil was proud to be one of seven first generation children who only spoke Norwegian until teaching themselves English while attending grammar school. "Pop" was a cherished husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He is survived by a sister Maybelle Ellen Holk, Wisconsin, a daughter Janice Baer, New York, two sons Steve Groff, California, and Jerry Groff and wife Janet, Salem, seven grandchildren, Roger, Kevin, Amy (Danny), Jennifer, Scott (Mary), Kelley (Brian), Kyle and six great-grandchildren. Gil survived his first wife, Ruth Erdahl Groff, who died in 1943. He also survived his wife of 65 years, Esther Frendberg Groff, who passed in 2011.
Gil earned his B.S. in Chemistry and Engineering at North Dakota State University and Master of Public Health at University of Michigan. He served in the U.S. Army during WWII where under the Military Government he completed the Civil Affairs Training School at Yale University. He served the Public Health Service Corps, National Guard and served as an advisor in Vietnam to address refugees fleeing from North Korea in 1954. After a short time as a Chemist in Minneapolis, MN he served for 10 years as Director, Division of Municipal Engineering, North Dakota State Department of Health, Bismarck, ND. He and his family moved to Oregon in 1949 and joined Clark and Groff Engineers with Lloyd and Warren Clark. His works as a sanitary and civil engineer can be found in Oregon - Alaska - Saigon and between.
Gil was a founding member and actively involved in the development of Illahe Hills Country Club. He was a Shriner, a Master Mason and a lifetime member of the Scottish Rite Freemasonry. A long-time member of the First Presbyterian Church of Salem.
He was an avid golfer late into his 90s, a bridge player, and a world traveler, as well as an active reader of history and current affairs. A great storyteller of life he never forgot an event, name or date in history. In 2012 he traveled back to North Dakota for the Centennial Celebration of Harlow, ND where he acted as Grand Marshall. Gil could often be found walking the course at a grand-child's golf tournament, cheering at a sporting event, attending recitals or front row at any other milestone.
Gil or "Pop" to many, loved his family, friends and community. He was truly a kind, humble and loving man.
Memorial Services will be held on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:00PM at First Presbyterian Church, 770 Chemeketa Street NE, Salem.
Published in StatesmanJournal on Mar. 17, 2013