Yakima County has lost another faithful elderly citizen. Irl M. Grove, 93, of Sunnyside died Wednesday, July 15, 2009, at his home.
He was born Oct. 12, 1915 to Charles and Azalia Grove.
His family lived at Rimrock at the time of construction of the Tieton dam and reservoir. With no doctor's offices there, he was born in his grandparents home (Robert Rockett) at Cowiche.
Irl spent his early school years at Rimrock, a one room school, before moving to Yakima schools. In 1929 his family moved to Outlook, where they farmed sugar beets and dairy. He completed his schooling there, graduating with the last high school class in Outlook in 1934. He was also the last surviving member of that class.
Following high school, he went to the Grand Coulee dam for work. Being short in height, it was difficult for him to climb ladders. After several months he returned to the Valley and went to work for the A.O. Shockley farms at Granger.
In March of 1941, he enlisted in the Army AirForce, stationed at McChord Field. In 1943 he was shipped to Europe with the ninth Air Force. They were stationed in England, preparing for the invasion in combat operations. He was first sergeant Officer Headquarters Squad of the 7th, Fighter Wing under General McCauley. He went all through the E.T.O. and retuned to the states at the end of 1945 with an honorable discharge.
He married Clarice Walter of Grandview on Nov. 20, 1941, just two weeks before the Pearl Harbor attack. While Irl served his country for five years, his wife worked at Boeing in Seattle, helping to build B-17 airplanes, as a lathe operator. Following his discharge from the Army, they came back to Grandview and built their home on Walnut Lane and have lived in the same home ever since. Following his military service, he took employment with Consolidated Freightways, servicing the Lower Valley for six years. Next he worked for City Lumber and Grandview Lumber before opening his own electrical business called City Electrical Service for 15 years. After that, he joined his wife in her business of the Shaklee Marketing Plan in 1958. They were the first Shaklee sales leaders in the Yakima Valley.
Being farm people, when the Grove boys were old enough to enter 4-H clubs, Mr. Grove became a leader teaching electrical knowledge for the next 10 years. The Groves were active parents in the 4-H program. Three years in a row Irl had 4-H members earning Washington State Achievement trips to the Chicago National Convention. They were his son, Jim Grove, David Templin and Raymond Cherry. His son, Roger was a state achievement winner in Entomology.
In his early years, he enjoyed singing, yodeling, and whistling. Being small in size he played many parts in school drama programs. He learned several long poems like "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" the Casey Jones songs and others-still repeating them.
He joined the State Grange program as a young member at Outlook, saying "Outlook Grange was his Home away from home." Learning to dance was always good fun. Their family spent many years square dancing, where he did much of the calling for dances. Other kinds of interest include fishing, hunting, water skiing, flying airplanes, R.V. traveling and he did so enjoy reading, especially history stories, the novels by Louis L'Amour and Zane Gray. He would read long hours at night.
Former memberships Irl was active in were Grandview American Legion Post #57, Grandview Odd Fellows Lodge, Grandview Rotary Club, Shaklee Pioneer's Club, Welch Grape Co-op, The Grandview Church of God, he was an Honorary Chapter Farmer with the F.F.A at Grandview. Irl was also one of a few people to have lived and voted all those years just in the Yakima County.
Irl's family consists of his wife, Clarice married 68 years; two sons, Jim and wife, Susan of Anacortes, Roger and wife, Sydne, of Caldwell, Idaho; grandchildren, Jenny Grove, Josh Grove, Katie Harper and C.J. Grove; sisters-in-laws, Elenore Shultz of Clackamas, Ore. and Bess Frank of Yakima; brothers-in-law, Frank Walter of Boise and Fred Walter of Yakima; and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent in Irl's name to The Children's Hospital, P.O. Box 50020, Seattle, WA 98145-5020 or the Lower Valley Hospice, 3920 Outlook Road, Sunnyside, WA 98944.
Irl M. Grove will be laid to rest on Tuesday, July 21, 2009, at 2 p.m. in the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent. A memorial service will be held for him on Monday, July 27, 2009 in Grandview at 11 a.m. at the Grandview Community Church of God, 914 W. Wine Country Road, Grandview, WA.
Valley Hills Funeral Home in Sunnyside is in charge of services.