Henry Groff, Jr.

From participant to promoter, Henry Groff, Jr.’s involvement in Frederick County sports was as varied as his talents. Groff played baseball at the University of Maryland; later, he played baseball with several local teams, including the Frederick Hustlers; and finally, he played football with the VFW team. Groff later coached both sports at Frederick High School, leading the Cadets to the first three Western Shore League baseball championships. He was one of the founders of the Frederick County Little League and an expert marksman, selected in1959 to the U.S. Army Rifle team that participated in regional and national matches.

Henry Groff passed away April 21, 2017. Read more about his amazing life below.

Henry Allen Groff Jr., 90, went to judgment on April 21, 2017 richly blessed with a life of fellowship among church, family, education colleagues, students, friends, and military colleagues in many countries. Henry was born on August 27, 1926 in Frederick, Maryland the son of Henry Allen Groff, Sr. and Mary Emma (Kunkel) Groff.

Mr. Groff is survived by his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Esworthy) Groff and three gracious daughters; Meda Elizabeth Groff (Dr. James Corkum), Kelly Roxann Groff (Shawn McMahon), and Melinda Sue Groff (John Mainville). There are seven wonderful grandchildren; Tyler James Corkum, Abigail Elizabeth Corkum, John Spencer Corkum, Matthew Patrick White, Stephen Michael White, Brooks Henry Warrenfeltz and Brianna Mary Warrenfeltz. He’s also survived by one niece Julie Ann D’Antonio and one nephew John Allen Groff. He is predeceased by 2 brothers; John Robert Groff and Joseph Murray Groff.

Henry grew up on a small homestead that dates back generations. As a young boy he climbed and fell out of trees, fished in streams, and played tricks on his brothers. He shared many stories such as walking miles with his brothers during the winter months to a one room school house. His mother would place hot potatoes in their hands for warmth and a welcomed snack once they reached their destination. He later settled on the land he grew up on and built a home to raise his family. Henry graduated from Frederick High School, class of 1943, at the age of 16 and began studies at University of Maryland where he played baseball. At age 17, he enlisted in the United States Navy because he wanted to see the world. He served aboard PT boats and LST landing craft in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters of Operation during World War ll. He traveled to California, Hawaii, Southeast Asia and later England and Europe. After the war he returned to the University of Maryland to earn his B.S. degree and began teaching math and science at Frederick High School. He coached varsity baseball during those years. He earned a Masters of Arts in Education from Western Maryland College (McDaniels College), a Masters of Psychology at Towson State College (Towson University) and Doctoral degree in Developmental Disabilities from California University. He taught graduate studies at Hood College, Loyola College, and under graduate studies at Mt. St. Mary’s College.

Dr. Groff had a long and distinguished 35 year career with the Frederick County Board of Education. He served many roles during his tenure. While a math and science teacher at Frederick High School he met his lovely wife Mary Elizabeth (Libby). He became vice principal of Linganore High School then branched into guidance counseling. Completing his studies in school psychology, Henry became a school psychologist. He established the first school psychologist position at the elementary school level for Frederick County. He retired as supervisor of school psychological services in 1986. He missed working with children and families after retirement and signed on as a contract employee for psychological services for several more years. Of particular note was his care and compassion for families of children with developmental disabilities often making home visits to educate and advocate.

A patriot at heart, Henry enlisted in the Army Reserve Forces following his time in the Navy. He was directly commissioned to 2nd LT. He commanded the 559th Signal Company in Frederick on active duty and reserve status. Upon promotion to Colonel he commanded the 354th Brigade and 300th group. Reservist assignments included the Joint Task Force Operations with Headquarters 18th Airborne Command & General Staff College and Air War College. The military lead him to advanced studies at the Department of State Foreign Service Institute, Georgetown University School of Foreign Affairs, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Fort McNair School of Material. He taught Tactics and Doctrine Warfare at the Command and General Staff College. Henry was an accomplished marksman earning many honors and awards. He was the United States Military Academy area representative for the 6th Congressional District for many years.

Henry let his life speak through his faith. A longstanding member and pillar of Mt. Carmel United Methodist church he was actively involved as lay leader, youth leader, Sunday school teacher, and leader of special projects. Many parishioners received hand written letters with uplifting messages and words of comfort. He enjoyed singing in the choir. He embraced and mentored many young people as they made mistakes in their growth and development. He organized Mt. Carmel’s Little League baseball program.

His community work spans decades. An active member of the YMCA of Frederick, he served on the board of directors and assisted Frederick’s recreation programs for youth. He was director of operations for three National Babe Ruth World Series in 1983, 1984, and 1985 at Hustler Park. He was a supporter of Frederick football and baseball teams. He actively supported the Special Olympics, Teenage Hotline, and various mentoring programs. Well liked by many, he once ran for the Maryland House of Delegates. Henry was inducted into the Alvin G. Quinn YMCA Hall of Fame in 2003 for his baseball and football career, coaching (3 county baseball titles), and organizing numerous youth programs. He was a member of the Elks club and Amvets of Frederick.

Henry had a passion for the outdoors. He camped with his family in every contiguous state in our great nation visiting national parks and various historical landmarks. He loved meeting new people along the way and documenting his travels. Henry spent hours growing and maintaining his large vegetable garden. He later built with his own hands a hunting cabin in western Maryland which became his retreat for reading and writing. Hunting, fishing, and quiet walks in God’s wonderland of nature sustained him.

We will miss his booming voice, sense of humor and bear hugs. Henry felt blessed without regret. His life defined the “Greatest Generation.” Living through the deprivation of the depression then serving his country in World War ll and beyond, he learned early that self-reliance, humility, and love for others were principles that would guide his life as husband, father, and grandfather.

Visitation is Friday, April 28th from 1-3 and 6-8 pm, at the Keeney Basford Funeral Home, 106 E. Church Street, Frederick. A memorial service will be Saturday April 29th at 2 p.m., at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 705 West Patrick Street, Frederick. Rev. Dr. Jennifer Smith and Pastor Scott Clawson will officiate. Inurnment will be private.

Memorial Contributions can be made to : Mount Carmel United Methodist Church, St. Jude’s Hospital or Frederick Memorial Hospital Hospice.