“In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at His reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see Him in His completeness, face-to-face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now.”
I Corinthians 13:12 (Living Bible)
Thomas Kevin Groves, known to his family and friends as Tom, passed into the presence of His Lord in the early morning hours of July 10, 2021, while at his sister's home in Arden Hills, Minnesota. Tom left us as he lived his life, peacefully. He was a gentle giant with a huge heart.
Born on November 17, 1956, to parents Raymond and Helen (Ernst) Groves in Mankato, Minnesota, Tom lived most of his life in Minnesota. Whether on family trips (often to the shores of Lake Superior), on some “grand adventure,” traveling to be with extended family and friends, or simply being at home, Tom found joy in sharing life and making memories.
A member of Crossview Covenant Church (North Mankato, MN), Tom was confirmed in his faith, baptized in Jesus, active in youth groups that included summer camping experiences and singing in the group "His People." He was a leader in the Boy's Brigade program, a member of the sanctuary choir and, as an adult, enjoyed serving with other "church guys" on various projects when the church was located at Carol Court. A favorite memory of his was driving the church bus to transport children and youth to Bible Camps or other activities (the young boys nicknamed him "the Big Guy!").
Tom graduated from Mankato East High School in 1975 and later completed the accounting program at South Central College where he was active in the local Institute of Management Accountants chapter. His career in grocery store management (Penny's) and specialty foods account development (Gourmet Foods) established many friendships and networks throughout a fourteen-state territory.
When the physical impact of Guillain-Barre (a rare autoimmune disorder) interrupted Tom's career, he refocused his efforts and abilities to do what he could to ease the load of others. He often said that helping a neighbor brought him more joy than a paycheck ever had. He committed his available strength to being a devoted son, loving brother, nephew, cousin and friend. Thinking back over Tom's life we remember him working with his Dad on landscaping projects; being his Mom's pal and later helping with her life needs after his father's death; being the family "go-to guy" on big and small projects; encouraging, supporting, and coaching his sisters in numerous ways; helping a younger cousin with a challenge; reaching out to answer a neighbor's call; assisting with the elk, llamas and horses at his Aunt's ranch in Iowa; or restoring his vintage cycle with a good friend. He always had time to share a great story, could bring you to tears with laughter as he shared one of his infamous "one liners" and could also go deep on topics that truly mattered. Tender enough to wrap his arms around you with a big hug, Tom expressed his faith by the life he lived and is already deeply missed.
Tom took the time each day to authentically "see and connect" with people wherever he was, put them at ease and affirm their value. This is such a rare gift. His appreciation for gospel music was something he often shared with others. A favorite group of his was "The Collingsworth Family" (you might want to add them to your playlist and listen along).
Tom is forever in the hearts of his loving sisters, Lynne (Mankato, MN) and Monica (Arden Hills, MN). He is also survived by his dear "adopted" brother Bill Kuehl with sweet wife Marilyn (Northfield, MN); sister-in-law, Jane (Rochester, MN); nephews, Jacob and Tyler with their wives and families; aunt, Lois Goertzen (North Newton, KS); numerous cousins; neighbors and countless friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Greg; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and many dear friends.
In honoring Tom's preferences, services will be private with burial at Mount Olivet Cemetery (Mankato, MN). His sisters would appreciate any stories you wish to share of times enjoyed with Tom as memories come to mind. Mankato Mortuary is assisting the family with arrangements.
The family asks that your tribute to Tom's life would be this: Look for someone in your neighborhood who is alone or has an unmet need and take time to connect with them through conversation or a simple act of kindness. Choosing to listen, to be kind or lighten the load of another person is remarkably important because every life truly does matter -- deserving respect and dignity.
The world is a better place because Tom lived in it, and, just as his favorite character, George Bailey, in the classic movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” was told: He really lived a wonderful life.
We thank God for Tom. To God be all Glory and Praise.