George R. Groff, 90, of Mohnton, PA, passed away on Sunday, September 6, 2020, at Reading Hospital with his wife by his side.
George was born on November 30, 1929, to Walter and Esther (Helder) Groff in Reading, PA. He and his three older siblings, Walter, Albert and Kathryn were raised during the Depression era where they were poor, but they didn’t know it. George was the youngest of five siblings, Walter E. Groff, Albert F. Groff, Kathryn (Groff) Miller, and baby Dorothy, all predeceased. George spent the majority of his childhood years in Penwyn and had many fond memories including attending and graduating from Shillington High School in 1947 and hanging out with his brothers, sister and best friend, Bernard (Benny) Hunsberger.
George’s mother Esther Groff died when George was 12 years old, and when George was 13 years old, he expressed an interest in playing the trumpet. Brother Al, 5 years older, paid for George to receive trumpet lessons at Zeswitz on 9th and Penn Avenue and there began his lifelong love of music, and its where he met his best friend Benny.
Following in his brothers’ footsteps of serving, George enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served from June 1948 to June 1952 as an Instrumentalist Staff Sergeant playing French Horn for the 521st Air Force Band at F.E. Warren AF Base in Wyoming. Soon after enlisting, George married his first wife Joyce Upczak (although they would divorce a few years later), and after being honorably discharged, George and Joyce took up residence in Reading where George worked a brief time at a paint factory. It was during this time that George realized he wanted a different career, and so thanks to Uncle Sam and the G.I. Bill, George attended and graduated from West Chester State Teachers College in 1957 (now West Chester University) with his Bachelor’s Degree in Music. It was during this time that he met his partner, Regina Hunsberger also a teacher, whom he spent 36 years with, and who was instrumental in guiding George through his education and later employment as a Middle School Music/English Teacher at Pottstown School District before retiring in the 1970’s. George and Regina remained together until she passed in 1987.
After Regina’s passing and now retired, George began to travel throughout all 50 states, made nine coast-to-coast trips by car to see his brothers, Al and Walt, took dozens of flights across the Atlantic to Europe and Africa, and toured Southeast Asia including visits to Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and paradise island of Bali. It was also during this time that he picked his trumpet back up and joined several bands, the first of which was the Ringgold Band, and later joining Reading Philharmonic Orchestra and Exeter Community Band where he met his good friend, who later became his wife, Susan Curtis, and his good friend, Gene Paris.
George and Susan would become inseparable for the next six years playing in bands together, traveling, and loving life and each other until his death.
George leaves behind his wife Susan, step-son Matthew Curtis, and many nieces and nephew and lifelong friends.
The family will receive relatives and friends in Bean Funeral Home, 129 East Lancaster Ave. Shillington, Friday, September 11, 2020 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Celebration of Life Tribute Service will be held at 7:00 pm. Amy S. Landis, Certified Celebrant will officiate. Interment with Military Honors rendered by the United States Air Force Honor Guard will be held at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Monday, September 14, 2020 at 11:30 am. Online condolences may be made at www.beanfuneralhomes.com
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