Kenneth R. Groff, age 64 of Camp Hill, Pa., passed away Oct. 30, 2010, at his home. Born Dec. 24, 1945, in Lancaster, Pa., he was a son of the late Herbert B. Groff and Verna H. Shenk Groff of Mechanicsburg, Pa.
A Groff Tractor and Equipment Inc. employee in high school and college, Mr. Groff began working for the company full time in the late 60s and became owner in 1983.
“In this tough business world we are in, Ken was a rare breed in that he was a successful businessman who was also a really nice guy,” said Michael Savastio, president and CEO of Groff Tractor. “He did it his way, which meant he was never going to sacrifice his dignity to make a profit. He cared deeply about our industry, customers and most importantly our GT&E employees.
“He taught me the importance of doing the right thing when it came to making a decision. He would say, ’do right by our customers, our employees, our manufacturers and the rest of the stuff will take care of itself.’
“The reason he brought me in back in 2001 to become business partners was because he cared about his customers, employees and manufacturers and wanted to make sure that there was a solid succession plan for the company. That is the kind of man he was, always caring about others and making sure he did the right thing. He truly was a class act, a great boss and most importantly a great friend.” Savastio added.
Mr. Groff attended York College and the University of Maryland. He attended Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, Ga., and was a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War.
He also was a member and former board member of the West Shore Country Club, a member of the Sea Pines Country Club, Hilton Head, S.C., and was an avid golfer.
Mr. Groff was on the board of Capital Area Transit and a member of various construction equipment associations at the time of his death. He had been a member of the board of directors of the former First Bank and Trust of Mechanicsburg, PNC Bank and Eichelberger Drilling.
“Ken was an independent thinker who had strong opinions, but he loved to debate. His positions were always clear, but took into account the impact to any and all affected. He always tried to be strong and tough, but in reality he had a big heart that put others ahead of himself,” said Jim McCullough, president and CEO of CNH Construction.
“His three loves were his family, his business and his recreation. I shall miss his opinions, I shall miss his humor, I shall miss his style. A true gentlemen in every sense of the word,” McCullough added.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by his wife, Helen Turner Groff; two daughters Jessica A. and husband Todd A. Vollmer of Phoenixville, Pa., Katie G. and husband Rob Reed of Mechanicsburg; three grandchildren, Chloe M. Vollmer, Quinn W. Vollmer and Samantha M. Reed; a brother Larry E. Groff of Crofton, Md., and two sisters Judy Hull of Grantham and Gloria Knittle of Bethany Beach, Del.
“He was a wonderful father, husband and grandfather and will be truly missed by his family and friends,” daughter Katie Reed said. “He was someone who led by example…his favorite saying was ’Life is a journey, not a destination.’
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 3211 N. Front St. Suite 100, Harrisburg, Pa. 17110 or Hospice of Central Pa., 1320 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, Pa. 17110.