Elizabeth "Libby" Gruender
Surrounded by her loving family, Elizabeth "Libby" Gruender, 52, passed away peacefully Jan. 2, 2013. She waged a courageous battle against cancer and spent her last few weeks under hospice care at her home in Sunnyvale, Calif. Her survivors include her husband, John Groat, sons Jason and Alex Groat, sisters Martha Gruender and Reesha Gruender, and a niece, Blanche Amelia Brown.
Libby was born in Manhattan, Kan., on Aug. 14, 1960, but grew up mostly in Tallahassee, where her sisters still reside. A graduate of Florida State University with a degree in physics, Libby also played the harp for many years and won medals as a master rower. She moved to the Silicon Valley for work in 1989. She spent her first 10 years at Lockheed Martin, where she would meet John. They married and spent 15 happy years together. After Lockheed, where she was a program manager for satellite launches, Libby held various management positions at smaller high tech firms including Diva TV, CPU Tech and Everyone.net
When she was initially diagnosed with melanoma more than three years ago, she left high tech and founded the nonprofit group Cake4Kids. By far her most fulfilling achievement, the group provides birthday cakes to underprivileged youths, such as those in foster homes, who would not otherwise have a birthday celebration. Under her guidance, Cake4Kids now has hundreds of volunteers throughout the Bay Area and provides cakes to about 1,000 kids annually.
Libby is the daughter of the late C. David Gruender and the late Anne Sherwood.
Family and friends are invited to a memorial service on Jan. 9, 2013 at 3 p.m. at the Domain Hotel, 1085 East El Camino Real, Sunnyvale. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Cake4Kids. Visit the website Cake4Kids.org
A memorial service in Florida is planned for a later date.