Former Soldotna resident Lyle Tilford Grove died Tuesday, March 17, 2009, in Phoenix. He was 81.
A service was held Friday, March 27, at Calvary Evangelical Free Church in Rochester, Minn. Services at Sand Hill Lutheran Church in Climax, Minn., were postponed due to the Red River flood.
"Loving, humble, caring, a quick smile, a warm handshake and a sparkling wit --that was Dad," his family said.
Mr. Grove was born May 12, 1927, to Lawrence and Thelma (Bruun) Grove in Polk County, Minn. He graduated in 1945 from Climax High School in Minnesota. He worked (and played baseball) in North Dakota, and farmed with his father near Climax until he joined the Army in 1951. Upon his honorable discharge in 1953, he returned to Minnesota. He married Ardis Tinjum on Aug. 16, 1953. They lived in Crookston, Minn., until moving back to the family farm in 1954. The couple and their six children were members of Sand Hill Lutheran Church in Climax.
In 1977, the family moved to Soldotna where Mr. Grove was an active member of Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna and later at Kenai Christian Church and enjoyed Old Testament history and led Bible studies. The couple moved back to Rochester in 1996. In retirement they enjoyed many winters in Mesa, Ariz.
"Dad enjoyed a career as a farmer and carpenter. He also worked on the railroad 'all the live-long day,' and put in time at a grain elevator, enjoyed being a mail courier, bus driver and running a Christian book store in Kenai. Donating countless hours to Christ Lutheran Church and the Soldotna Senior Center was something he felt compelled to do. Being a color commentator for local sports radio was another of his talents," his family said. "His flair for entertaining included being an emcee for pageants and performing in plays, skits and musicals. Being at Birch Ridge Golf Course made him happy. Working in the clubhouse or as a marshal. However, it was playing a round with the seniors that made his day."
"Dad loved playing and watching baseball. He played shortstop for the Minot Mallards, an independent baseball team in the Manitoba-Dakota Baseball League where one particular at-bat produced a double against Hall-of-Fame pitcher Satchel Paige. Western movies, golf, reading, card games, camping, fishing, ice cream and making people laugh were things that gave him joy. His needlework, also, was exceptional- earning purple ribbons at fairs," his family said.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and sisters, Orlu Grove and Mildred (Grove) Delp.
He is survived by his wife, Ardis; children, David Grove of Soldotna and Anita (Dan) Hakkinen, all of Soldotna, Daniel Grove, of Kenai, Dale (Gina) Grove, of Rochester, Alana (Kurt) Haider, of Anchorage and Darren Grove, of Oxbow, N.D.; sisters, Yvonne (Wayne) Hanson, of Crookston, and Arlene Haugen. of Wyndmere, N.D.; and grandchildren, Ryan and Andrea Hakkinen, Lauren, Rebecca and Joshua Grove, Robb, Paige and Daniel Haider.
Memorials may be made to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Gideons International or a charity of the donor's choice.
Condolences may be sent to Ardis Grove, C/O Calvary Evangelical Free Church, 5500 25th Ave., NW, Rochester, MN 55901.
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