Fay Ellen Groh nee Ackerman, age 70, of Lake Bluff, IL. Beloved wife of Gary Groh. Loving mother of Gretchen Groh, Geoffrey (Sarah) Groh, and Susan Groh (Scott) Nehls. Proud grandmother of Magnolia and Oakley Groh; Owen, Luke, Elinor, and Avery Nehls. Dear sister and aunt of many.
A private family gathering will be held Friday, May 1, 2020 at Pike Funeral and Cremation Services, Boyd Chapel, Bridgman, followed by a graveside service at Greenwood Cemetery, Bridgman. You are invited to join the family via live stream for the family service on Friday, May 1st, beginning at 12:45 PM EST at www.PikeFH.com
On April 20, 2020, Fay Ellen Groh nee Ackerman, age 70, of Lake Bluff, IL left her temporary home for her eternal home with Jesus. We know beyond a doubt that she is in heaven and that we will all be reunited with her there one day. On that day, our joy will eclipse the grief we feel now and all of our tears will be wiped away. We rejoice in knowing that she is with her savior and that there is no pain and no sorrow. She is with her little dog, Teddy, whom she dearly missed, and she is gardening and playing bells in the glory of heaven, undoubtedly improving upon perfection.
Fay was born on April 30, 1949 in Bridgman, MI. She grew up with her three younger siblings, protected and defended them, and was especially close to her sister, Susan, after whom she named her youngest daughter. She was also very close to her father, who was her hero her entire life. Her strong moral compass and her drive to help others came from him. She excelled in school and passed her love of learning on to her children.
Fay married Gary Groh on December 18, 1971 and her life was filled with the travel and adventure of the PGA Tour. A highlight, of course, came in 1975 when Gary won the Hawaiian Open. We will always remember the pictures of her in her Hawaiian dress, beaming with pride. Eventually, life settled down and she started her family, welcoming Gretchen, Geoff, and Susie. Gary’s job at Bob O’Link Golf Course allowed her to stay home and raise her children: her life’s work. Fay was always grateful to the club’s membership for the opportunity and generosity provided to her family. The stability provided from Bob O’Link allowed the family to settle in Lake Bluff where Fay became a fixture in the community. She was well-known for her love of gardening and could always be found in her well-loved and well-tended yard. She played in multiple bell choirs and impressed everyone with her rhythm and commitment to her art. All eyes were drawn to her, and the joy she derived from playing bells was obvious. She loved birding with her oldest daughter, Gretchen, and spent some of her happiest days in forest preserves, looking for elusive species.
Fay was a beloved Nana to her grandchildren: Owen, Luke, Elinor, and Avery Nehls, as well as Magnolia and Oakley Groh. Elinor told her that she was, “A very special Nana,” and we all know that it was true! She played endless games, brought endless presents, and loved all of those little people with her whole heart. She celebrated their accomplishments and was a powerful presence in their lives. She was so proud of her grandchildren and made sure to knit each of them their own Christmas stocking before their first Christmas. She didn’t have the chance to knit one for her newest grandson, Oakley, but her beloved sister Susan has taken up her needles to knit one for him so that he always knows how precious he was to his Nana.
Fay was beloved by so many in her life: her nieces and nephews, who remember her skirted swimsuits, Pepsi with lime, and happy days at the beach; her Sister-in-Law, Gail, whom she loved like a sister; her church small group, who shares our belief that she was the best pie-maker; and even strangers in the grocery store. Fay had highly refined interviewing skills and knew how to ask questions of everyone; we teased that she made friends wherever she went. Throughout her life, people were drawn to her natural charisma, beauty, and kindness. She always thanked service members for their service to our country and returned shopping carts for the elderly or moms with small children. She was brave and never shirked away from a difficult conversation or a controversial topic.
Fay was a devout Christian and would want all those reading this to know that the only path to salvation is through Jesus Christ. Her dearest hope was for all of her family, friends, and loved ones to accept that precious and freely given gift. She was also a devout Republican and would want everyone to educate themselves and vote to preserve freedom and democracy in the next election. She was certain in all of her convictions. Above all, Fay was an exemplary person, wife, and the most wonderful, dedicated mother and Nana we could have asked for. God blessed us with her for seventy years. Her legacy lives on in her children and grandchildren and we will do our best to continue it in her stead. We know she was so proud of all of us and we want to live our lives in a way that will continue to make her proud. We eagerly await the day we are reunited and she throws her arms around us and tells us again how deeply she loves us all.