A Heart Warming Story: The Harry and Jennie Grove Trade School and Secondary Education Fund
Just over a year ago, Hubbard Lake residents Gary and Kay Grove talked to one of their fellow church members, Tom Lappan, about setting up a college scholarship fund. They mentioned that they had a “foster” uncle who was interested in doing something to honor Gary’s grandparents, Harry and Jennie Grove. Lappan suggested that they get in touch with the Community Foundation. So the Groves followed up on Lappan’s advice and stopped by the Foundation. Executive Director Barb Frantz welcomed the couple into her office and listened to a story that warmed her heart.
Harry Grove was born on Jan. 17, 1878 in Hagerstown, Maryland. He later moved to Toledo, Ohio to work for the railroad company. In Toledo, he met his future bride, Jennie Montgomery, who was working as a distributor for the The Toledo Blade newspaper. She was originally from Antrim County, Ireland, born on May 30, 1882. After also living in Belfast and Liverpool, Jennie settled in Toledo with her sister Margaret. Harry and Jennie married in 1925.
The couple befriended a local newsboy, John Zachel, and eventually became his foster parents. In 1934, the family moved to a farm in Lachine, Michigan on M-32. In 1946, the Groves moved three miles away to an 80-acre farm, built their home and had a son, Harry Grove, Jr. When young Harry grew up, he married Jeanette Hansen and they gave Harry, Sr. and Jennie three grandchildren and five great grand-children.
On the farm, the Groves raised cattle, ducks chickens and a huge vegetable garden that kept the entire family busy. Jennie also enjoyed crocheting and knitting, making many pairs of socks and gloves for everyone. She also made doilies and afghans that decorated many of the homes in the area. The Groves were very active in local farming organizations such as the Farm Bureau, Grange and Rebecca. These organizations were formed so local farmers could get group rates for health insurance, have a place to gather and share information about farming. Both Harry and Jennie lived to be 92.
Their foster son, John Zachel, attended Hillman High School and spent much of his childhood helping out around the farm. After graduation, Zachel moved to Morenci, Mich., and started his own turkey farm in 1949. He married a school teacher, Marguerite, who taught in a one-room school house located just north of the Zachel Farm on M-156. Together they had three children, Gretchen, Bob and Courtland.
At 96 years old, Zachel was still operating the turkey farm. He passed away on January 25, 2018. Zachel had said he was grateful for the many years he shared with Harry and Jennie Grove and wanted to make a fitting tribute in their name. He liked the idea of setting up a scholarship in Harry and Jennie Grove’s name.
A week after Barb Frantz met in her office with Gary and Kay Grove on behalf of Zachel, the couple returned with a completed worksheet Frantz had provided to them and were ready to set up an annual scholarship. The scholarship was established for Hillman High School graduates “who wish to pursue a trade such as but not limited to: Electrician, Plumber, HVAC, Welder, Auto, Diesel and Aircraft repair and maintenance, Surveying, etc.” The minimum annual award was set at $4,000, renewable for up to four years per recipient for students maintaining a 2.5 GPA or higher.
Frantz clearly recalls that it was a most memorable and emotional moment for all when the Groves presented a check for $250,000 to fund the scholarship. This June, the first scholarship(s) from the Harry & Jennie Grove Trade School and Secondary Education Fund will be awarded. Foundation staff was hoping that Gary and Kay Grove would be accompanied by John Zachel to present the scholarship award(s), but as it turns out, his flock of poults was scheduled to be delivered in May and the young turkeys need lots of attention when first delivered.
Creating a legacy on behalf of Harry and Jennie Grove is both remarkable and inspirational for those who appreciate what it takes to run a successful family farm and to those students who aspire to follow in their donor’s footsteps.