Craig Grover, 93, passed away June 18, 2013 at VBMC in Harlingen with his family by his side.
Craig was born on June 15, 1920 in Mt. Vernon, Ohio to Dr. Earl G. Grover and Gertrude Lovell Grover Carlin. He attended Sewanee Military Academy in Sewanee, Tennessee and graduated from Ashland High School. He attended Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio.
Grover enlisted in the Army Signal Corps in 1941 and served in the Philippines obtaining the rank of Sergeant. On May 6, 1942 he was wounded and captured by the Japanese on the island of Corregidor. On May 24th he and his fellow POWs landed in Manila and were forced to march through the city by their captors. They were packed into boxcars for a journey to the prison camp of Cabanatuan. He also was interred in Camp 3 and Camp 1 in the Philippines. In 1944 he was shipped to Japan to work in the copper mines. During his long imprisonment he suffered from starvation, beriberi, dengue fever, malaria, and many beatings at the hands of the enemy. He was liberated on September 4, 1945.
Upon returning home, Grover was quoted as saying he "has a debt he can never repay to those guys who fought on after I was captured. The only thing that kept us alive was that we knew that we would have something to come back to." He was honored with the Red Philippine Defense Ribbon which only about 4,000 soldiers were eligible to wear. He also received the Purple Heart, the American Defense and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbons, and the Distinguished Unit Citation with two clusters.
When he returned to the states, he had more overseas service bars on his sleeve than General Eisenhower.
Grover began his career in the furniture industry after having completed the management trainee program with Montgomery Wards. After being transferred to Harlingen in 1948 he continued working in the furniture industry in various capacities. In 1949, Grover opened Weslaco Furniture Store on Texas Blvd. In 1950, he married Frances Rita Milano of Weslaco, Texas.
In 1963, wanting to start a business of their own, Craig and his wife Frances saw a great opportunity in Harlingen, and established their business, Craig's Furniture. In 2005 they opened an additional store in Weslaco. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the family own business.
Grover was a Past Commander of the American Ex-POW Association; Past Commander of the American Legion; and member of the Disabled American Veterans.
He is survived by his wife, Frances, and his daughters, Rita (Robert) Scoggins and Cheryl Janssen of Harlingen; grandchildren, Bobby Scoggins of Lemoore, CA, Christopher Scoggins of Katy, TX, Victoria Scoggins of Harlingen, Ryan Janssen of Harlingen, Kristen Janssen of Dallas, TX, and Lauren Janssen of Harlingen; great grandchildren, Heidi Scoggins, Nathan Scoggins, Emily and Avery Janssen; sister-in-law, Joan Grover and numerous nieces and nephews.
Grover was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Earl G. Grove, Jr., and son-in-law, Rickie Janssen.
The funeral procession will depart the Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. for an 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Anthony Catholic Church. Interment will follow at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Adult Congenital Heart Association, 6757 Greene Street, Suite 335, Philadelphia, PA 19119 or the Esophageal Cancer Action Network, P.O. Box 243, Stevenson, Maryland 21153.
The family wishes to thank Lee, Rosario, Sandra, Carol, Griselda and the 4th floor doctors and nurses at VBMC for helping to care for Craig during his illness.
You are invited to sign the guestbook or leave a memory at:
Arrangements are with Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home.
Sign the guestbook at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/valleystar/
Published in Valley Morning Star on June 21, 2013