Captain John Axtell Grove II, USN (Ret), was born 28 May 1943 in Newton to Dr. John Axtell Grove and Mary Ida (Fitch) Grove. John graduated from Newton High School in 1961. He received his BA from Bethel College in 1966.
John joined the United States Navy in 1966 and received his wings of gold through the AOCS program the same year. While in Pensacola, he met and married his wife of 45 years, Phyllis Joy (Addison) Grove.
His first squadron was HS-2, followed later by tours in HS-10, HSL-37, and command of HSL-32. Shipboard tours included the USS Hornet, USS Independence, USS Rathburne, and USS Guadalcanal, where he served as Air Boss. Shore tours included the Naval War College, The Pentagon, where he served as the Assistant Chief of Staff for the Chief of Naval Operations, and NAS Norfolk, where he served as Executive/Commanding Officer. His final tour was Commanding Officer of the Alcohol/Drug Rehabilitation Center for the Navy.
His awards included the Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal with three gold stars. After nearly 30 years of dedicated service, John retired from active duty in 1994 and successfully transitioned into the corporate world for 12 years prior to his move to Milton, FL.
John was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to many. He enjoyed gourmet cooking, fishing and had a profound appreciation for the outdoors. Memberships included the Military Officers Association of America, the Order of Daedalians, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Sons of the American Revolution, Navy Helicopter Association, Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, First United Methodist Church of Milton, and Florida Supreme Court Mediator.
John was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. John A. Grove; and a sister, Margie Grove.
He is survived by his wife, Phyllis (Penny); a son, Joshua Leon Grove; daughter-in-law, Julie (Curl) Grove; granddaughter, Reagan Olivia Ann Grove; and grandson, Gavin Brock Grove of Front Royal, Virginia. He is also survived by his sister, Mary Grove Sizemore; brother-in-law, Herbert Hadley Sizemore of McPherson; and nephews, Jay and Adam Sizemore.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Santa Rosa County Chapter of Military Officers of America Scholarship Fund, the First United Methodist Church of Milton Elevator Building Fund or the Wounded Warriors of America Fund.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, Jan. 19, at the First United Methodist Church of Milton beginning at 3:30 p.m., followed by services at 5 p.m. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery for a date yet to be determined. Lewisfuneralhomes.net.