Carl Wayne "Poppy" Groves passed away on July 11, 2020 at age 88. Poppy was born in Campbell, MO and was one of eight children to survive into adulthood. He and his siblings survived very hard times before all of them were able to find stability and success in the world. At the age of 17, his mother signed papers allowing him to enlist in the United States Air Force, and he served proudly for 27 years before retiring as a Sr. Master Sergeant. His service allowed a poor farm boy from Missouri to see the world and to make a difference in the lives of many people. Until the end, his service in the USAF was one of his proudest accomplishments.
After he retired, he began a second career with the State of Tennessee Unemployment Insurance department, where he eventually retired as a branch manager. When he wasn't helping Tennesseans through tough economic times, he was influencing his two boys along with countless young people in Hermitage as a coach and referee for Little League baseball. For more than 30 years, he taught not only baseball but all the life lessons that come along with it.
At home, Poppy was the anchor for our family. He was firm and loving, he was stoic and kind, and he was always, always a teacher and #1 fan for all of us. In the little spare time left, he loved playing racquetball, working in the yard (he had a phenomenal green thumb) and camping with Granny, the love of his life. The love of the outdoors that began when he was a child stayed with him throughout his life. After the grandkids came along, he loved taking them camping and teaching them the many things he knew about the natural world.
But, without a doubt, his greatest joy came from spending time with his three kids, his ten grandkids, and his great-granddaughter. Poppy was genuinely interested in our lives, our adventures and our dreams. His ability to comfort when we were hurt and to celebrate when we were happy made all of us feel like we were the most important people in the world and that we mattered. That was his true superpower.
Poppy is survived by wife of 58 years, Dolores "Granny" Andersen Groves, children Bill (Cindy) Neagle, Sandie (Kevin) Hancock, and Carl (Jaynie) Groves Jr., grandchildren Rachel Neagle, Wyatt Neagle, Erik Hancock, Julie Hancock, Alexander (Maria) Groves, Chloe (Matthew) Poole, Elijah Groves, Gretchen Groves, Tessa Groves, and Jonah Groves, great grandchild Waverly Poole, sisters June Edmondson, Ruth Bruhn, and Pearl Boling, brother Rick (Marilyn) Groves, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by parents Raymond Groves and Myrtle Groves and a number of siblings.
His family is celebrating his life with a private service followed by a catfish fry, his favorite meal. He would have loved nothing better than to see his house full of family and laughter with the scent of frying catfish in the air.
Sellars Funeral Home, Lebanon TN, 615.444.9393.