Kenneth F. Groth, retired deputy fire chief | Passages

Kenneth F. Groth
Sept. 16, 1929 — Aug. 11, 2009

Kenneth F. Groth, retired deputy chief of the Yakima Fire Department and father of Trish Harris of Friday Harbor, died Aug. 11, 2009 in Yakima.

He was 79. He and his wife, Joanna, lived on San Juan Island from 1992-96.

Mr. Groth was born in New Ulm, Minn., on Sept. 16, 1929, and was raised in the Yakima Valley. He graduated from Yakima High School, served his country in the Korean War, and served his community as a firefighter for 29 years.

During his career, he was active in the Fire Fighters Association, both locally and for Washington state, advocating for the rights of firefighters.

He also served several years as an elected fire commissioner for the Broadway Fire District, attended and taught classes at Washington and national fire academies, and worked hard for the charities that the fire department affiliated with. He retired as deputy chief after 29 years of service.

After retirement, he joined the Retired Fire Fighters of Yakima and, to his last day, he and Joanna enjoyed the many activities, events and enduring friendships that came with that group.

The Groths were full-time RV’ers for several years. When they retired their motor home they still kept on the go, traveling by plane, cruise ship and car. A highlight of those adventures was a cruise through the Panama Canal that they took to celebrate their Silver Anniversary.

Mr. Groth also loved baseball and was an avid Mariners fan through both thick and thin. He and Joanna spent many spring seasons in Arizona with the Mariners. “And you could always tell when a game was about to start because Dad’s eyes would dart between you and his watch. It was time to turn on the game!,” his family wrote.

He also loved crosswords. The Yakima World-Herald once reported on his ability to complete the New York Times crossword in 10 minutes or less.

“He was quite a competitor and, as a younger man, humiliated quite a number of opponents at the ping pong table,” his family wrote. “He also loved to golf and play bridge at the Elks Club. More recently, he competed against the house at the card table or pulling a handle on those nickel machines.”

Survivors include his wife, Joanna Groth, of Yakima; daughters, Katie Tait of Yakima, and Pauline Groth of Yakima, Trish Harris of Friday Harbor, and Sherry Harris (Harry Hall) of Santa Monica, Calif.; sons, Marty Groth (Sandee) of Yreka, Calif., Alan Harris of Vancouver, Wash., Curtis Harris of Yakima and Vince Harris of Los Angeles, Calif.; a brother, Don Groth, and his wife, Margie, of Portland, Ore.; a sister, Ruth Piske of Yakima; and six grandsons, Christopher, Aaron, Mathew, Sean, Roger and Max. He also leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews as well as his brother firefighters.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Elsie Groth; a brother, Leroy Groth; and a sister, Verna Koreis.

Memorial service was Aug. 19, 1 p.m., at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 801 Tieton Drive. A reception followed at Zesta Cucina, 5110 Tieton Drive.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Firefighters’ Widows & Children Fund, c/o Keith & Keith Funeral Home, 902 W. Yakima Ave., Yakima, WA 98902.

— Family of Kenneth F. Groth

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