Chesterton Tribune

Wayne R. 'Windy' DeGroff dies at 90

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Wayne R. DeGroff, of Chesterton, passed away July 29, 2007 at the VNA Hospice Center in Valparaiso. He was 90.

He was born Sept. 11, 1916 in Montpelier, Ohio, the son of Clint and Florence DeGroff.

He married his childhood sweetheart, Dorothy L. Ashby, on Nov. 20, 1941 on Rooseveltís Thanksgiving and they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in 2006.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Dorothy; one son, Douglas DeGroff of Chesterton; three daughters, Deborah Fieffer of Valparaiso, Darla (Roland) Lickus of Naperville, Ill., Dawn (Stephen) Heckard of Valparaiso; eight grandchildren, Melinda White, Thomas (Tracy) Fieffer II, Bruce Fieffer, Stacy (Hank) Kuypers, Megan DeGroff, Seth Heckard, Jordan Heckard, Todd Lickus; 10 great-grandchildren, Ben Ashley, Steven, Christopher, Elisha, Joshua, Bruce, Tatum, Tommy and Allyson.

At the tender age of six, Wayne started his business career. With the help of a little red wagon, he pedaled homegrown horseradish and freshly baked sugar cookies made by his mother. He had numerous jobs in his young life and in his spare time played snare drum in the school band. He was a cheerleader all four years of high school. After graduation, he became owner of his first gas station and worked as a bus driver for the West Unity School System. A short time after, he moved with his parents to Wauseon, Ohio, where he purchased a larger Sinclair Oil station, later purchased by Atlantic Richfield Co. and became a bus driver. He sold the station and operated a menís store and License Bureau. And, in 1955, accepted a job with Sinclair Oil to manage stations on the Ohio Turnpike. Three years later, he moved to Chesterton and operated stations on the Indiana Toll Road. He retired from Atlantic Richfield Co. in July 1976. He then worked for the Duneland School Corporation for 19 years, retiring in 1995. He was a member of First United Methodist Church of Chesterton and was a 32nd Degree Mason. He was a member of the Chesterton Moose Lodge #1623 and was an avid bowler and sports fan. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He lived a full, happy life and all who knew and loved him will miss his wonderful sense of humor.

Funeral services, Pastor Terry Rhine officiating, will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 2 at White-Love Funeral Home, 525 Second St., Chesterton. Interment will be in Chesterton Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1 at White-Love Funeral Home.

Contributions in Wayneís memory may be made to the VNA Hospice Center in Valparaiso, The Physical Therapy Department at Waters of Duneland in Chesterton or to First United Methodist Church in Chesterton.


Posted 7/31/2007