Having watched the sun set behind the Blue Ridge Mountains for the final time, John Franklin Groves, 87, died at his farm near Lakota on January 9, 2021.
He was born at his parents’ Edgewood Farm in Bealeton on February 19, 1933. He was the 12th of Otaway and Pearl Groves’ 14 children — seven sons and seven daughters.
Strong, handsome and athletic, “Johnnie” graduated from Stuyvesant School in Warrenton, where he enjoyed playing on the academy’s baseball and football teams.
After graduation, John married Pearline Messick. They had three loving children, Diane Gulick, Jon Michael Groves and Melanie Sullivan.
Later in life, John married Frances Smith Hitt and added her loving daughter Crystal Carpenter to the family. Soon after, they had their devoted son Paul Groves. Now the family is three generations and 20 in number.
Throughout his life, John enjoyed hard work. After graduation, he joined his father and brothers working at his parents’ farm. He worked many more years at Groves Hardware, a family-owned business established in 1947 by his father and brothers.
These were his primary jobs, but he also ventured into the car repair business and built and remodeled many homes, leading to the realization of his dream, the purchase of a farm of his own beside the Rappahannock River with a western view of the Blue Ridge to enjoy during his retirement.
Johnnie also loved having fun. His 40-year-long Tuesday night poker gigs, the Remington Lions Club, flashy cars, boats, getaways with friends and family at his West Virginia mountaintop farm, the ’Skins, the Nats, his cattle and anything John Deere all brought him great joy.
Famous for his quick and ready big smile, his humor, and his love of talking with every single person he ever encountered, Johnnie demonstrated living every single day to the fullest. His stoic, gentle submission to the cancer, which eventually took his life, modeled courage and strength. He never stopped greeting everyone with a smile.
There will be a private family service at his home soon and a celebration of life to follow later this year for his numerous friends and extended family.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Remington Lions Club or Heartland Hospice.
Condolences may be offered at www.moserfuneralhome.com.