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Published: Saturday, 4/28/2007

Teacher's enthusiasm never flagged

BRYAN - Florence Grove, 91, who taught elementary school in Wood and Williams counties for 32 years, died April 19 in Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers, Bryan.

The cause of death was a respiratory ailment, her daughter, Myrna Grove, said.

Born in Paulding, Ohio, as Florence Stombaugh, she was valedictorian of the Farmer High School class of 1934, and received a two-year teaching certificate from Manchester College, North Manchester, Ind., in 1937.

She soon began teaching at the one-room Prospect School in Wood County's Center Township.

In a 1980 interview with The Blade, Mrs. Grove recalled how pupils in the first through eighth grades were taught in the same room, and how everyone walked to school from their farm homes.

At the time of the interview, she was weeks shy of retirement, and Blade columnist, the late Don Wolfe, observed that, "What sets Mrs. Grove apart from the average teacher is that she retains the classroom enthusiasm she possessed those many years ago as a beginner."

During World War II she taught in Pioneer schools, and then Scott School in Superior Township and Pulaski-Jefferson School, all in Williams County.

She took a 10-year break from teaching to raise her family, and later taught the third grade for 23 years at Edgerton Local Schools, also in Williams County, from which she retired.

Mrs. Grove played the organ and piano at Lick Creek Church of the Brethren in Bryan for more than 30 years, and she gave piano lessons to more than 100 youths since her teenage years.

Along with her husband, the late Kedric Grove, she was a long-serving deacon at Lick Creek Church. She was a member of Lockport Mennonite Church in rural Stryker since the 1990s, and played piano there until just three years ago, her daughter said.

Mrs. Grove lived in Bryan until fours ago, when she moved to a duplex in the Fairlawn Haven Nursing Home, Archbold, Ohio.

She was a past president of the Edgerton Teachers Association.

Surviving are her sons, Dean and Milan Grove; daughter, Myrna Grove; brother, Paul Stombaugh, and four grandsons.

Services will begin at 10:30 a.m. today in the Lockport Mennonite Church in rural Stryker. The Krill Funeral Home, Bryan, is handling arrangements.

The family suggests memorials to Lockport Mennonite Church, Lick Creek Church, or Manchester College.

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