Wayne Albert Groppe, age 92, of Oak Ridge, passed away early December 8, 2023, in his home from complications of heart failure and multiple strokes. His daughter, Jeanne Groppe Chamberlin, was at his side.
Mr. Groppe was born on Nov. 19, 1931, in Dubuque, Iowa, to Clara Loretta Koester Groppe & Albert August Groppe. The family moved multiple times for work his father was managing on Depression-era construction projects. His father moved to Oak Ridge in the early 1940s after obtaining employment to manage some of the construction activities that supported the Manhattan Project at the Y-12 plant, leaving his family behind. By the time Mr. Groppe and the rest of the family moved to Oak Ridge in 1947, he had lived in 8 states (Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma, Indiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Tennessee). He and his future wife, Shirley Pauline Ryder Groppe, both graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 1949. Mr. Groppe was a lifelong member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Oak Ridge.
Mr. Groppe served for four years in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict with two 12-month tours of duty to the Far East aboard the USS Delta. He married Shirley in 1953, and after the war, studied at and graduated from Milwaukee School of Engineering in 1958 with a BS in Electrical Engineering. He was immediately employed at Y12, where he worked for 41 years until retiring in 1995, saying he could not imagine more interesting work than what went on there. Mr. Groppe was a registered Professional Engineer in Tennessee until he retired from his position in the Maintenance Division as a Department Superintendent. After retiring, he and Shirley traveled to 43 different countries before her health forced them to stop. These experiences served to further cement his interest in history, which he had always enjoyed reading about, just as he enjoyed reading about science. Listening to classical music was another hobby.
Mr. Groppe was a member of the Oak Ridge Bowling Association Hall of Fame and excelled as a bowler throughout much of his life. He worked as a pin-setter when he was young and attributes that to his once successfully scoring a perfect 300 game. Mr. Groppe was also an avid golfer, hitting the greens until the age of 90. In his life, he scored two holes-in-one, the first at the age of 70. At home, he enjoyed playing pool whenever possible, and did so with his son-in-law, Randall Chamberlin, until a few months before his death.
Mr. Groppe was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 64 years, Shirley, in 2017; parents, Clara & Albert Groppe; sister, Elaine Stoetzel, and infant son, Wayne Alan Groppe. Survivors include children, Dr. Linda Groppe Eissenberg & husband, Dr. Joel Eissenberg, of East Providence, RI, Karen Groppe Rink of Schaumberg, IL, Jeanne Chamberlin & husband, Randall, of Oak Ridge, and Jackie Groppe Emery & husband, David, of Frankfort, KY; and grandchildren, Rebecca Eissenova (Anna), Patrick Emery, Ryan Emery (Brittany), Steven Rink, and Lee Chamberlin; great-grandsons, Jayce Emery and Jonah Eissenova.
The family would like to express special thanks to Callie Freels-Mullins, her dog Rosie, and other Comfort Keepers staff for the wonderful care they provided.
The family requests any donations in his honor may be made to the American Red Cross where Mr. Groppe was a life-long blood donor, or to a dementia-related charity of the donor’s choice, since both he and his wife eventually suffered from the disease.
The family will receive friends from 5-7 pm Friday, December 15, 2023, at Weatherford Mortuary. Family & friends are invited to a funeral mass at 1 pm Saturday, December 16, 2023, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with Father Ray Powell officiating. Interment will be held at 2 pm on Sunday, December 17, 2023, at Oak Ridge Memorial Park. An online guest book is available at weatherfordmortuary.com.