Cliff Groves - Son, Brother, Uncle, Friend and an inspiration of strength and courage to us all, passed from this life peacefully in his sleep on March 27, 2021.
Cliff had been in hospice care and his siblings were each able to spend many hours with him in his last days. Unfortunately due to the pandemic they had to rotate their visits instead of being all together.
Born January 2, 1954, in Salt Lake County Hospital to Bill and Sue Groves, Cliff was the first of five children. From there he began his eventful life.
Always an intelligent and inquisitive child, Cliff figured out how to get into the locked kitchen cupboard and drank oil of wintergreen, it's candy like aroma attracts children but it is toxic when ingested. This escapade almost cost him his life as a toddler. His case of survival was written up in a medical journal!
Cliff began his love of sports as a batboy, then team player, for the local Little League "Red Sox" team He learned the rules, skills, teamwork, and sportsmanship from two of the best coaches, Coach "Truck" Groves (Dad) and a good family friend Coach Bob Blake. Cliff learned lots of practice and determination could get you far. This lesson would be very valuable later in his life.
Around age twelve, Little League ended and his hunter safety certificate was earned. Cliff then turned his focus and passion to the great outdoors. Cliff loved learning to camp, fish, and hunt from his Father. Many a happy tale was told of hunting and fishing trips with his Dad, brother Bill, uncles and cousins and later with the dear friends he made working at McDonalds. This evolved into Cliff's dream to become a Forest Ranger.
Cliff graduated from Hillcrest High School in 1972 as a member of the Honor Society. He enrolled at the University of Utah and begin the steps to turn his passion of the outdoors to his dream profession.
Then in 1973 Life dealt a blow to Cliff so devastating he was not expected to survive. He was involved in a motorcycle vs. automobile accident where he sustained not only broken bones and other physical injuries but also a traumatic brain injury causing severe aphasia. Cliff would need to relearn how to swallow, eat, talk, walk and process his thoughts. He also had to learn to function left handed as his dominant right hand was permanently paralyzed. His parents were amazing advocates for Cliff, the doctors wanted to amputate his leg due to gangrene setting in, but his parents fought to have tissue aggressively removed and an extensive antibiotic regimen to save his leg. They felt so strongly that Cliff would give up his fight were he to lose his leg. They and he were successful. It took years of persistent therapy, love, patience and determination but Cliff was finally able to function and get around with canes and he eventually worked for 25 years at Abbot Laboratories, from where he retired.
Although his plans and dreams changed significantly, Cliff found ways to follow his passions through media, he became an avid and loyal fan of Jazz Basketball, Red Sox and Bees Baseball, and of course his favorite Dallas Cowboys Football team. He treasured his memories of going to a Jazz or Bees game with his brother Bill. He surrounded himself with paintings and artwork of ducks and geese to bring some of the outdoors inside to him. Cliff loved teasing his nieces and nephews and often caught them off guard by catching them with his cane.
At the age of 52, Cliff moved out into an assisted living center where he took advantage of the many activities, Wii bowling, dances, bingo and off site field trips. He made new friends and even enjoyed an occasional trip to Wendover.
Although not in a state he would have chosen, Cliff lived 48 years beyond his doctors expectations and through his strength of character he made the very best of his life.
Cliff is survived by brother Bill (Pam) Groves, sisters; Lisa (Greg) Putnam and Lori (Tim) Heaton. Nieces and nephews; Julie Groves (Barry) Browne, Brian (Nina) Hayward, Greg, Sarah (Hunter Callahan) and Megan Hayward, and Ian, Connor and Hayden Heaton. Great nephews; Liam Finbar Browne and Aiden Ellis Callahan, Great Nieces; Svetlana Briana "Lana" and Cassandra Briana "Cassie" Hayward and lifetime buddy from McDonalds, Doug Miller who visited and brought treats to him until the end. Cliff was preceded in death by his parents Bill and Sue Groves, and infant sister Julie Ann Groves.
Special thanks to Cliff's sisters Lisa Putnam and Lori Heaton who stepped up to become amazing and selfless care givers for Cliff after the passing of their mother in 2008.
The family will scatter Cliff's ashes in a private setting at Cliff's favorite fishing hole, so that he may rest in peace, forever in the Great Outdoors.
"Grieve if you will, But not for long
Upon my Soul's Sweet Flight"
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