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Community Spotlight: The Grovers

Article Date: 
14 December, 2012 (All day)

In 1982, Val and Loretta moved to Mountain Green from Arizona when Loretta’s sister Judy Pettingill gave rave reviews of the valley and the Morgan School District. The year before, their son Dan, lived with the Pettingills and attended school in Morgan. During a sixth-grade outing to the North Morgan Cemetery, he discovered headstones with the name Grover on them.
 It was then that Val realized his ties to Morgan Valley.  Val’s great grandfather, Thomas Jr. and Elizabeth Heiner Grover homesteaded in Stoddard area.  Originally, his great great-grandfather Thomas Grover Sr. came to Utah with Brigham Young and settled in Centerville. 
 Thomas Martin Grover, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Heiner, and his wife Isabel Hogg Grover left the valley in 1900 to move to Sugar City, Idaho.  His son, Angus, Val’s father, started out in Idaho and then moved to Salt Lake. Val was born in Draper, but moved to Seattle. Both Val and Loretta were raised in the Seattle area.  They went to different wards, but their families knew each other. They were introduced, dated and later married.  Val and Loretta will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on June 3, 2013.
 The Grovers have lived in the Highlands of Mountain Green for the last 30 years. The first few years, Val toured with a musical comedy called “It’s a Miracle,” written by Janice Kapp Perry and Joy Lundberg which was presented all over the country for several years. Val played the father and sang “In the Hallow of Thy Hand.”   He did 127 shows total, most in Washington, California and Utah as well as other Western States. Loretta got to go with him on one of the last tours to the east coast.   Val has a beautiful baritone voice and often sings at church services and activities, but many people may not know, he has been in many productions.
 Before their marriage, Val served in the Army in Germany and was in the Army chorus.  He toured all over Europe and Germany and was on Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America.  He said they got to ski during the day and perform at night.  Not your usual Army career.  After his army days, he went on a mission to the Gulf States, married in 1963 and then worked for General Electric as a branch manager in Eugene, Ore. Val then decided to use his GI bill to pursue a college degree in Communications.  While in Eugene, he was involved in “My Fair Lady” and sang in the Cockney Quartet as his part in the play.  He said they used the original costumes from the Broadway production.  The opening night of “My Fair Lady” was a formal replica of the English Ascot Ball which was attended by the Secretary of State and the Mayor.
 Also while he was in Eugene, he played Josephus Gage, the inventor of the zipper, in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”  In Morgan, for the Morgan Stake Centennial production of “Bands of Iron, Rings of Gold,” he played Bishop Leonard Martin. These are a few highlights of his musical avocation.
 Loretta said she has had several careers.  Attending University of Arizona, she ran their El Taco stores in Arizona and was a medical assistant. After obtaining her nursing degree, she worked as a nurse for 20 years; she was a school nurse, cardiac care nurse, head nurse at Bonneville Dialysis and Weber Basin Job Corp. After retiring from nursing, she worked at Browning Arms as a credit manager for 11 years, retiring in 2007. Somehow, they both managed to find time to substitute at Morgan School District for about four years while their last son attended there.
As far as community service is concerned, Val served as president of the Highlands Homeowners Association, and both he and his son Dan served on the volunteer fire department for three years and six years respectively.  During this time, he painted the old fire station. He also served on the Master Planning Committee with Brad Richards, Karla Kipsell, John Mulligan and others.
Val states: “One of the most enjoyable times spent in community service was helping secure funds for the Kent Smith Park.  It seemed like the whole community turned out to put on the Trappers Loop Rendezvous.  Our family did our part with the cotton candy machine.  I remember the first year of our involvement I heard there was a news reporter in the crowd so I served up very large pink sticks of cotton candy.  Sure enough, the next day on the front page of the Standard Examiner was a picture of two young boys with their large fluffy cotton candy with a nice article about the Rendezvous. It never hurts to get the press to help with your project.”
These days, the Grovers are still active.  Loretta is an experienced tatter and has won several first place awards for tatting at the county fair.  Besides doilies, hats, and bookmarks, she even makes flowers by tatting. Val uses his lathe to make wooden vases for her arrangements.  She has served for five years as a world-wide service missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Val has always worked on his cars.  In good weather, you still will see Val outdoors working in his yard and on his cars.
Val and Loretta have two sons.  Dan lives in North Ogden with his wife, Andrea and one child—Aidan, age 7.  Jonathan has made a career in the U.S. Army and is now stationed at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.   He and his wife, Sandy have three children, a girl and two boys—ages 9,7,5.