Caring Communities mourns the loss of our founding Officer, John Groskopf (1945-2013). John was instrumental in providing vision and leadership to Caring Communities Members, Staff, and Partners in the founding and continued success of Caring Communities.

We are all one-of-a kind, yet not so many noteworthy of this as John Groskopf. Almost always when asked how do you remember John the responding words included ‘one-of-a-kind’. So what we often remember about John is what set him apart, what made him stand out, how much we enjoyed John and were attracted to John. Everyone wanted to be around John. John was kind. His kindness grew from the great respect that he offered for everyone, fascinated and sometimes amused by their lives, thoughts and views. Even if he disagreed he rarely withdrew respect. He would say, “I don’t have to agree with you to respect you”. John was very smart, modestly so and unassuming. He would never out smart anyone, rather preferring to enhance group intelligence by lending his own, all for the cause. Yes, John could be argumentative and very opinionated too. He had strong views, most well-founded in fact. He would often say, “If you disagree with me you have the right to change your mind”.

He was a natural listener, and unusual reader. He habitually did read forward and backwards. He also was a silent observer appreciating this dimension of learning. He had the most absorbent mind, which made him a great learner, master of studies, knowledge and understanding. John contributed his thoughts and views only after great meditation. You could see his thoughtful gears turning.

He loved Country Music from the 20’s through the 50’s, especially The Carter Family and he loved the Beach Boys’ and pipe organ music. He loved and adored his family, relatives neighbors and friends. John preferred the company of common men and women and ordinary conversation, though he could dazzle anyone with his brilliance.

John declared Caring Communities as his last career. He was especially excited by the opportunity because as he said, “I go into this one having made almost every mistake there is to make in this business. I know all the correct steps.” With his knowledge, understanding and experience he guided us to setting the founding principles for Caring Communities that are lasting, guide us and will guide our successors.

From the beginning John gladly became our educator and a very entertaining one indeed. We will remember his lessons and his clever digressions that held our attention, like his memorable proposal to move the International Dateline. Probably his most famous and entertaining lesson became known as the “Pipe Organ Speech”. We are most fortunate to have had John with us live and in action. I am sure we and all who knew him have been enriched. He leaves a lasting legacy for Caring Communities.

We will forever feel his presence.