John Grove

john grove

John M. Grove, 92, of Fargo, died on March 31st.  He was born in 1920 to Genevieve and Henry Grove of St. Paul.  John was a graduate of St. Thomas Academy in St. Paul, and attended the University of Minnesota.  A talented athlete, John lettered in five sports and played semi-professional hockey.

John married Mary Jo Carroll of Billings, Montana, on Halloween of 1942.  John served as a Marine in the Pacific theatre during World War II, including at the Battle of Okinawa.

After the war John and Mary Jo settled in Fargo where John initially worked as an air traffic controller at Hector Field.  A reservist, John was called back to active duty and served his country as a lieutenant in Korea.  Following his return to Fargo, John began work in the savings-and-loan field, working first at Gate City Savings and then spent the bulk of his career as President of Northwestern Savings (now American Federal), retiring in 1985.   John also served on the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. Among his innovations was bringing the first ATM to North Dakota, promoted with an advertising campaign “The Homeliest Teller in Town is Coming.”

John was active in civic and church activities, serving in such capacities as a member of the Fargo Public Library Board, NDSU’s Teammakers, Shanley GROW Club, and the Rotary Club.  John was also a 65+ year member of the Fargo Country Club (his second home) including serving as its President and was honored by being named Honorary Chair of the 1994 Melroe North Dakota State Open.  John and Mary Jo encouraged a sense of community responsibility and involvement in their children and were proud of their activities and achievements, if not always sharing their political views. Asked once how he felt about raising a number of Democrats, John jokingly responded: “I’m delighted you have opinions.  You’re all wrong of course.”

John loved reading, playing and watching golf, and solving crossword puzzles.  His children knew not to call on Sunday afternoons during the professional golf season or nightly, during Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy.  John enjoyed writing and performing birthday and anniversary songs with new lyrics he’d added to Broadway show tunes.  His family always enjoyed these special songs as well as his great version of singing Hello Dolly in the voice of Louis Armstrong, a performance he repeated for family and many friends at his 90th birthday party.

A long-time Bison supporter and season ticket holder, among John’s most prized possessions was a football autographed by all members of the 2012 national champion football team.

Widowed after nearly 62 years, John’s later years were shared with his dear wife, Margaret (Carlson), whom he married in 2005, and who survives him.  He is also survived by children John, Katie, Mark, Meg, Jane, and Molly and their spouses as well as by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  John was a loving husband and father, a welcoming father-in-law, caring grandparent, and a friend to many.

With a small group of friends, John was instrumental in developing the Southwood Drive neighborhood, including land that that became part of the Fargo Country Club and the site of the Bowler. A longtime resident of Southwood Drive, John and Maggie spent recent years at Edgewood Vista retirement community. The family wishes to give their appreciation and thanks to the staff of the Villa Maria Nursing Home and Hospice of the Red River Valley for the care and support they provided to John in his last months.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of the Red River Valley, 1701 38th St S. #101, Fargo ND  58103 and/or Sisters of the Presentation, 1101 32nd Ave S, Fargo ND 58103.

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Memories Timeline


  1. West Fargo ND
    Dear Jane , I am sorry for the loss of your Father. Your Father was a great man and a friend of my Dad’s. Your Father always took the time when I was young, to praise me about saving my babysitting money. He had a lot of good advice for a young investor. Your Dad is in my thoughts and prayers. Sincerely Jane DuBord-Hill

  2. Indianapolis IN My dear friend and colleague, Katie, I was saddened to hear about the passing of your father. He lived a long, rich and memorable life, that you will lbe able to look back on with fond memories. God bless you and your family Katie. You are in my prayers.

    In God’s love..

  3. Hartfield VAYears ago and far away I mowed John’s lawn one summer when we lived on South Sixth. Mary was always very nice to me.

  4. Saint Cloud MN
    What a wonderful obituary summarizing a wonderful life. I’m guessing my friend and talented writer Meg had a part in writing it. Take care all of John’s children… with special sympathy extended to my classmate Meg.

  5. East Grand Rapids MichiganDear Mark and family members,
    As your enduring love attests, John was a good man, and he lived an extraordinary life. What wonderful memories he has left for you. Our deepest sympathy to all of you. Terri and John

  6. Madelia, MN
    To all the Grove family, my deepest condolences on the loss of your father. He was a gentle giant of a man with a very loving and caring heart. He had extended many kindnesses to my family over the years and to my husband and I before we were married. He is surely going to be missed.

  7. Fargo ND
    I was saddened to read that John Grove had passed. I worked with him for many years at Northwestern Federal. He was a very good and honest family man and business person. I have many fond memories of my years their. My sincere condolences to the Grove family.

  8. Fargo ND
    The Grove Family is in my thoughts and prayers. I went to Shanley with Jane & Molly and also knew them in childhood days from Southwood Drive.

    I never knew how involved your dad was during his days on earth. Quite amazing! He lived a very full life.

  9. Park Ridge ILWe are thinking of John’s fine life and family. Our family know of John’s integrity, loyalty, wisdom and kindness passed on to our wonderful father, John’s son, Mark. These qualities are in all of the Groves and are the greatest works of a great man. We were honored to know John, and our kind thoughts and prayers are with all the Groves.

  10. Fargo ND
    Dear Margaret and members of John Grove’s family,

    John and I have been friends for many, many years. He lived a long and good life. He was a great citizen of Fargo and North Dakota
    . I send my condolences.

    I know that all have good memories of John. I send you best wishes and personal greetings.

    Myron H. Bright

  11. Molly,
    I remember your dad sitting and telling me many stories on your wedding day. He had an impressive memory. So glad he was there for you to share that beautiful day!

  12. Chicago I was able to speak with Margaret this morning but wish to convey my sincere condolences to the rest of the Grove family.

  13. To the entire Grove Family: My thoughts and prayers are with all of you in the loss of your father. He was a great man and friend to all and will be dearly missed. When I see an electric billboard at a bank, I think of your Dad and his clever remarks he wrote daily on the sign at Northwestern Bank in Fargo. Take Care, Sheila

  14. Moorhead MN
    I did not know Mr. Grove personally however in reading his tribute it is clear that his was a life well lived by service to his country, community and family. Blessed be his memory.

  15. flagstaff azDear Molly and family,
    So sorry to hear about John. He was such a fun man. Always laughing and smiling. I always enjoyed going into the bank and having a coke downstairs. The bottle machine was so cool. I would hear him talking with others in that low voice. I remember your old house in Fargo on the golf course. seeing boomer and your dad outside. I hope he is having fun upstairs with your mom and other family member who have gone before him… May he always be with you in your minds and hearts.
    Lisa Nicklawsky Foss

  16. White Bear Lake MN
    Meg and family,
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. While I know you were anticipating this at some point in the not too distant future, I don’t think was are ever truly prepared to say goodbye to a loved one. May you find comfort and peace in knowing that your father is now back to his old self, and in a better place.

  17. Fargo ND
    My thoughts and prayers are with you as you grieve the death of your father and husband. May he rest in peace and may you enjoy peace knowing that he is at rest in the embrace of his loving God.

  18. grove family the Vaughan family sends their deep condolences to you. Mary and Jane Vaughan were buds all through high school and life. Katie still got the scar on her forehead where Susie Vaughan hit her with a pop bottle. again our deep sympathy’s.

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