Robert R. Groves
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My best companion left this world on November 14, 2012, and at last is comfortable. He was determined to fight his cancer without ever complaining and was always grateful for any assistance. "Mr. Positive" lived his 82 years with a firm conviction that attitude was the most important virtue, and proved that "age was a matter of attitude." Our thirty-six years of Friday night dates have ended.
Bobby was born in Janesville to Roland and Lorraine (Loveland) Groves on January 10, 1930. He was raised and lived in Madison along Mendota's shore with his sister Barbara. Together they spent a great amount of time with Grandma Howard. Bob was a member of the Madison Drum and Bugle Corp, and at the age of seventeen he moved to Appleton and graduated with the class of 1948. Bob loved sports, especially boxing and football, where his agility resulted in a nickname of Scooter. Following graduation, he enlisted in the army and was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma with the 4011th unit in the 2nd Battalion of the 37th Armor Regiment. There he became the Camp Champion boxer and had honor of being in charge of the motor pool despite not having a driver's license! "No problem," he told me, " I hired a driver." Following discharge Bob returned to Appleton and worked in various sales positions including: retail, auto sales and Wisconsin Electric and Power Company. He married Elizabeth LaPorte on May 30, 1952. He was married to Elizabeth for eighteen years and together they had seven children. On February 10, 1978, he married Jeanne Tomcek in Orlando. Their marriage was blessed with two additional children.
Bob entered the Insurance Industry in 1956 and was still active at the time of his death. He was honored as "Mr. Metropolitan" from 1957 until 1981, had held the distinction of being named a life member of the Million Dollar Round Table. A crowning achievement was leading his team to top sales in the United States, Canada and Europe in 1966. Bob was a member of the National Association of Life Underwriters and shared his expertise with countless other organizations and causes. He retired from Met in 1986 and founded Apple Valley Insurance and Financial Services at the age 56. His son Rob joined the agency in 1992, and remains the owner today. Bob loved his work, his fellow associates (especially the Met veterans), and his clients. He never really considered it work but rather solving problems and he was good at it. He loved people, was a compassionate and analytical thinker, and a highly successful closer. He had an excellent memory for names, birthdates and excelled at mental math.
Always the salesman, he won my father's approval of our marriage - not an easy task when there is an age difference of seventeen years and you are already the father of seven children! My father approved but there was one contingency: "You spoil her - you keep her!" What an incredible husband and father he was. He always kept us laughing and learning.
One of his greatest joys was watching his children and grandchildren. He was always their biggest fan. He happily sat through numerous baseball, basketball, football, and soccer games as well as recitals and horse shows. There are seventeen grandchildren, and Bob had hoped to meet his first great -grandchild who is expected in February.
He loved golf, especially Thursday afternoons when he could play with his wonderful friends. And he also loved the evening after glow. He had established a corner seat at the bar where he pontificated on life, politics, and sports with a Special Export in hand. He was saddened by his arthritic joints and increasing handicap but he still came out and played. He once remarked that he needed to live longer in order to play to his age! Always that positive attitude.
Bob is survived by his wife: Jeanne Tomcek Groves of Appleton;
His nine children: Christine Makris of Arlington, Virginia, and her children Michael (Katie), Nicolas (Lizette) and Alexander;
Gary and Wendy Groves of Hortonville and their children Travis, Nathan (Sarah), and Melissa;
Michele and Tomas Makris of Fredericksburg, Virginia and their children Martin, Lexie and Elliot;
Susan and John Nagel of Appleton and their children Alyson and Christopher;
Julie and Robert Green of Minneapolis and their children Emily, Sara and Mia;
Rob and Kitty Groves of Appleton and their children Parker, Bennett and Delaney;
Jon Groves of Milwaukee and his fiancée Anita Pollock;
Jennifer Groves of Appleton.
He also leaves behind a sister: Barbara (Richard) Dewey of Madison; three brothers: Dennis (Linda) Groves of DePere; Patrick Groves of Eagle, Wisconsin; and Brian (Carla) Groves of Fremont. He is also survived by Jeanne's siblings: Rosie (Jack) Filbrandt of Antigo; Jan (Rob) Comstock of Bailey's Harbor; and Jerry (Audrey) Tomcek of Aniwa; along with numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his son Mark Groves and son-in-law James Makris.
The funeral liturgy for Bob will be held at 2:30 PM on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at ST. BERNARD CATHOLIC CHURCH, 1617 W. Pine Street in Appleton, with Fr. Dennis Ryan officiating. Entombment will be in Highland Memorial Park. Friends may call directly at the church on Wednesday afternoon from 12:30 until the time of the service. Following the service, a reception will be held at Butte des Morts Country Club. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Bob's name for Cancer Research.
Thank you Bobby, for being my best friend, for always having my back, and speaking well of me. I treasure the years of tears, laughter and bantering. I will listen to your parting advice. You were right when you said you gave me the best years of your life. I will always be grateful for you giving me this loving family. We hold you close and there you will remain to walk with us through our lives. You are in my heart and deep in my soul. I love you.
Bobby's family and close friends will forever remember his humor, quick wit and one liners which have become known as "Grovesisms". Who will ever forget him exclaiming, "Charge me and I will send you a bill", or "It's so unbelievable, I can't believe it!"
Published in Appleton Post-Crescent from Nov. 16 to Nov. 19, 2012