Obituary for L. Peter Groves

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Former La Crosse Alderman Peter Groves passed away at his home on January 25, 2019. He was 83. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Marilyn Groves, by Michelle Groves (daughter), Scott Groves (son), Mark & Mary Groves (son & daughter-in-law), Max Groves (grandson) and by Jim & Yvonne Smith, Richard & Mary Jane Sheehan, Greg & Sarah Sheehan and Dan Sheehan (brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law).
Peter was a La Crosse native and was the only child of Lauren and Thelma Groves. He was born in the Depression era, and as a boy helped his father at the Groves & Stein Cleaners at 6th & Cass Street. He graduated from Central High School, attended a year of college and enlisted in the US Army. He was raised in the Lutheran Church but converted to Catholicism and married Marilyn Sheehan in 1958. Early in 1959 he began a lifelong career as an agent for Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. With 2 small children at home, he was called back into the Army due to the Berlin Crisis of 1961. In 1963 he successfully ran to be elected alderman of the 13th ward; he served for 8 years and while an alderman, he became a member of the Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium Board of Directors. That connection led him to push strenuously – and successfully – for the La Crosse Center/Radisson Hotel project.
His life was about being a vigorous advocate for the City of La Crosse. In the early 1960's when some were suggesting that Octoberfest was too much trouble, he pursued expansion of the festgrounds. In order to bring more performances to the Sawyer Auditorium, he sought out audio experts and contractors to create an excellent sound experience. He was instrumental to the formation and ongoing appeal of the Stars of Tomorrow Baseball Tournament; young players and their families from all over the Midwest came to La Crosse every summer. He served on the La Crosse YMCA board of directors and worked with many prominent citizens to upgrade their 1909 structure; in 1969 they built a first class facility at Main Street & West Avenue. Similarly, he was on the building committee that funded and built a new Boys and Girls Club facility on Clinton Avenue in 1983. He was a member of the La Crosse Rotary Club and was very active in the club's project to replace the city's huge loss of trees due to Dutch Elm Disease. He found countless ways to contribute on teams that made La Crosse a better place. When Mayor Zielke asked him to chair the celebration for La Crosse's No. 1 City designation, he told Tribune reporters that the guests of honor would be the citizens of La Crosse, because they all deserved the credit.
Advanced age slowed him down, and each year carried the burden of more friends passing on. His was a remarkable life, may God's Grace be upon him.
A memorial service will be held at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral in La Crosse on Friday, March 15, 2019 at 10:30 am with family available to visit attendees beforehand, beginning at 9:00 am. Following the service there will be a luncheon.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to charities of one's choice. The family suggests Viterbo University, 900 Viterbo Drive, La Crosse WI 54601 or the sending of a check to Stanford University (memo line: Lewy Body Dementia Research GHDRA ), PO Box 20466, Stanford CA 94309.