NAPOLEON -- Bedford F. Groves, 94, of Napoleon, Ohio, died October 16, 2012, at St. Luke's Hospital in Maumee, Ohio.
Bedford was born in Herndon, Virginia, on December 25, 1917, and was the son of Bedford F. Groves Sr. and Ethel Trammell Groves. He graduated in 1935 from the Herndon High School. Bedford worked in the family business as a sawyer, scheduling and delivering sawdust to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway in Washington D.C., sawing board lumber for houses, barns and fences as well as post and timber. He logged in some of the densely wooded areas of Virginia and Maryland that required the use of a draft horse to get the timber out to the road. He later built a "doodle-bug" to get around in the woods.
He served his country during World War II, being inducted into the Army of the United States Air Corps, as a special vehicle operator in March 1943. Bedford was sent to St. Petersburg, Fla., for basic training, Chanute Field, Rantoul, Illinois, for technical school and then stationed at Patterson Field, Dayton, Ohio. Here he met the woman of his dreams. In 1945, he was sent to the European Theatre landing in Le Havre, France. He was assigned work detail in Belgium, Luxembourg, and was sent as far north as Bonn, Germany. Once France was liberated by Allied Forces, his work detail was moved to Nice, France, where his unit commandeered several hotels until France could reestablish its currency. His unit also retrieved vehicles and equipment that had become casualties of the war. Bedford attained corporal status and was honorably discharged from the military service; he then returned to the states in April 1946.
Upon his return home he reestablished his lumber and building supply business, trekked back to Ohio, looked up his future bride, Catherine Bockleman, proposed to her, got married and settled in Virginia. There they farmed along with the sawmill operation and raised their family. One of the last timber jobs Bedford did before moving to Ohio was to clear the trees for the golf course at Algonquian Regional Park in Sterling, Virginia. Bedford and Catherine then moved their family to Napoleon, Ohio, to help Catherine's parents operate their family farm. Besides growing crops and raising Simmental beef cattle, Bedford worked for the United States Department of Agriculture as a fruit and vegetable inspector, retiring in the late 1980s. He semi-retired from farming, staying active mowing the field lanes and keeping the scrub growth down in the pastures.
Bedford had a keen eye for contorted branches he found on his walks in the woods and had an eclectic collection of walking sticks and canes he made. Bedford attended his 77th class reunion this past June as he had for the past 20 years, visiting the folks he grew up with and worked alongside of in his community.
He is survived by his children, Bonnie (Robert) Towe of Toledo, Ohio, Virginia Groves of Crescent City, Fla., Forrest (Connie) Groves of Crescent City, Fla., Mary (Mike) Weaks of Tedrow, Ohio, and Jonathan Groves of Napoleon, Ohio; eight grandchildren; one great-grandchild; sister-in-law, Elizabeth Groves, Front Royal, Va.; and very dear friends, Laura and Fred Gore, Purcellville, Va. Bedford was preceded in death by his wife, Catherine; his parents; brothers, Vernon Groves and Guy Groves; and sister, Doris Wimberly.
A family and friends gathering will be held Saturday, November 24, from 1-4 p.m. at the Bloomfield House on the corner of Clinton and Webster streets in Napoleon, Ohio. Military honors will be held at the farm after the gathering.
The family request that memorial contributions be given to Hospice of Henry County, the Henry County Historical Society or Bugles Across America. Online condolences can be made a www.walkermortuary.us.com.