My husband joined the Ashland Rotary in the fall of 1995. When the holidays rolled around that year, he told me that there was a Rotary “choir” that was going to perform at their holiday dinner and since I liked to sing, I might want to join them. It’s true, I do like to sing, and I thought that I might enjoy being in a choir. On the first night of rehearsals, I showed up at Steve Groveman’s house and was met at the door by his wife Kathleen. Kathleen told me that the singers were rehearsing in the basement and showed me the way. I couldn’t help but thinking that the choir was pretty quiet and when I walked into the basement I saw four people there! “Oh no!” I thought, where was everyone? Well, it turns out, we were “everyone.” Uh oh.
Of all of the “choir” members, Steve was the only one I remembered seeing before. He had played the piano with gusto at the only Rotary meeting I had attended so I was sort of prepared for his exuberance but I was not really ready to be in a choir of five. That night, I went home and asked my daughter (who is fearless and a wonderful singer) to join us at the performance. She agreed, and as you might suspect, we all had a good time at the holiday dinner.
One of the things that I remember most about Steve is his warning that the most dangerous time for a young person is between three and five in the afternoon because that is the time of day when parents are still at work and teenagers are home alone. Steve wasn’t trying to scare us; he just wanted us to be aware.
Another memory I have of Steve involves baseball. One night when the Southern Oregon Timberjacks had a game, Steve told me that a man who was in the baseball Hall of Fame was going to be at the stadium. That evening, I brought my kids to the game to meet Harmon Killebrew and was able to have him autograph a baseball for my Uncle Bill (a huge fan!). It was amazing.
Just a few short years later, Steve Groveman was diagnosed with cancer and was gone from us way too soon. His passing was a huge loss for our community… especially for the young people he fought so hard to protect and serve.
Tonight, I brought an Apple Pie to Kathleen, in memory of her husband, Steve. I wanted her to know that though he may be gone from us, he is not forgotten. And that Ashland is a much better place for his having lived here.