LODI—Francis W. “Frank” Groves died peacefully on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, at Fern Glen Farm, which has been the Groves family home since the 1860’s. Frank was born on June 16, 1925, in Madison, Wis., to William “Bill” Groves and Amy (Loper) Groves.
After a hard-working but joyful childhood on the farm in Lodi, Frank joined the U.S. Army in 1946 and served in Occupied Japan. Upon his discharge in 1947, Frank attended the University of Wisconsin, earning his B.S. in Dairy Industry in 1951. While attending the University, Frank met the love of his life and lifelong companion, Shirley Jeffery, and they were married on Aug. 16, 1952. They raised three children, William “Bill”, Richard “Dick”, and Ann, and had adventures around the globe as they tirelessly pursued their passion for travel.
After several years working in the dairy industry, Frank returned to the UW, earning his M.S. and Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics and joining the faculty in 1961. In 1965-66, Frank was the head of a Dairy Marketing project for the National Commission on Food Marketing in Washington, D.C., after which he returned to UW-Madison. He was named Director of University Center for Cooperatives in 1970, a position he held until his retirement in 1989. Frank’s passion for the power of economic democracy led him to teach people around the world how to create their own cooperatives and improve their financial stability and potential. Throughout his career he won numerous awards for work with Cooperatives and being a leader in cooperative education nationally and internationally. Frank was a founding member and on the founding Board of Directors for Group Health Cooperative (GHC), and was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Zeta, and Upsilon Sigma Phi.
Frank was also an active member of the Lodi community, serving many years on the Ambulance Commission, in the Optimist Club, and the Lodi United Methodist Church. He and Shirley also owned small businesses, and were active in the Chamber of Commerce and proud supporters of other local enterprises. Frank’s abiding love for the citizens of Lodi and giving back to the community made him a constant presence, whether at Optimist fundraising events or for coffee at Lucy’s every day.
Grateful for his childhood home, and recognizing what a beautiful and enduring legacy Fern Glen Farm could be, Frank placed most of the land into a conservation easement with the Ice Age Trail Alliance in 2011, thus ensuring that the Trail section and the land would be preserved in perpetuity for all to enjoy.
Frank is survived by his sons, Bill (Donna Riemer) Groves, and Dick (Kim Zak) Groves; and his daughter, Ann (Ron Lloyd) Groves Lloyd; and grandchildren, Jeremy Lloyd, Jonathon Groves, and Chad and Michael Riemer. He is further survived by his brother-in-law, Donald (Chari) Jeffery; nieces, Shelley Kassem and Julie Jeffery Smith, and nephew, Scott (Stephanie) Jeffery; along with countless cousins in the Lodi Valley and across the country.
Upon Frank’s death, we lost a wise, kind, and generous father, family patriarch, and friend to all who knew him. He had a gift of making a true connection with everyone he met, and he inspired us daily with his love of life, family, and a good joke.
We would like to thank all his caregivers on his healthcare teams, who helped him to maintain his quality of life and remain at home.
A celebration of Frank’s life will be held on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, at the LODI UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 130 Locust St., Lodi, at 3 p.m. Visitation will be from 1 p.m. until the time of the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Frank & Shirley Groves Scholarship Fund at the UW Foundation, Lodi United Methodist Church, Good Samaritan Society Lodi, The Ice Age Trail Alliance, Lodi Woman’s Club Library, or the Lodi Optimist Club. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.