Roy Joe Grogan died peacefully early Monday morning, March 30, 2020, at his home in Weatherford, with his best friend and bride of almost 69 years at his side. Neither he nor his children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren could have asked for a more quiet, gentle, or dignified closing to such a long, robust, and exemplary life.
He was 93.
“Roy Joe”, as he was called by many local friends, was born on October 4, 1926, in Weatherford, to Blanche Benge Grogan and Clarence Benjamin “C.B.” Grogan. Precocious and determined from the start, Roy attempted to enroll himself in kindergarten a year early at the age of 4. A “true blue Kangaroo,” he graduated from Weatherford High School in 1943 and then attended Weatherford College and North Texas Agricultural College (now, the University of Texas at Arlington) before enlisting in the United States Navy shortly after his eighteenth birthday.
Roy was the younger brother of Douglas Reid Grogan (1923 – 2013), Irving-based architect after decorated service in the 100th Infantry Division in World War II, being awarded the Bronze Star and, by the French government, inducted as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
A graduate of Purcell Gunnery School in Oklahoma, Roy and his new Navy buddies were to be deployed on their special “kamikaze hunting” mission, but before they could move forward, President Truman authorized the drop of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan, and plans changed. Instead of hunting kamikazes in B-29’s with the Third Fleet in the Pacific, Roy was sent to Pearl Harbor in 1945 after a short stay at the Coronado Naval Air Station in San Diego. While serving in Hawaii, he played clarinet in a Navy jazz band, the Corsairs. Per Roy, “Spending nine months on Maui and Oahu was not much military sacrifice!” He was honorably discharged on July 3, 1946.
On his return home, Roy completed work at Weatherford College (where he became Chairman of the Board of Trustees some 40 years later) before being accepted into the Harvard Law School. But while waiting to matriculate at Harvard, Roy accompanied his friend Nick Kupferle to Durham, North Carolina, to complete some additional undergraduate work at Duke University. As has happened to many, Roy quickly became strongly attracted to the neo-Gothic architecture of the Duke campus and the towering North Carolina pines. He never made it to Cambridge and instead enrolled in the Duke University School of Law where he graduated in 1950.
After law school, Roy was recruited by the FBI. After training in Washington, D.C., he was commissioned a “Special Agent” by J. Edgar Hoover personally and was preparing to leave the FBI Headquarters for his assignment with the “Subversive Squad” in the Bureau’s Los Angeles Field Office. Before leaving Washington, he called back home to Weatherford to Jeanne Meredith, long the apple of his eye, who was then attending the University of Texas in Austin. “I’m going to be coming through Weatherford in about a month on my way to California,” he told her. “If you think we could get married then, let’s plan on it and go to California together.” She had to think about it. A few days later, while in a training class at FBI Headquarters, there was a knock at the door, “Is there a Grogan in here?” the messenger asked, with a telegram in hand from Jeanne. Roy held up his hand and the messenger revealed in front of the whole class, “She said ‘yes’!”
Roy was married to Jeanne Meredith, daughter of George Culberson Meredith and Lula Moore Meredith, in Weatherford on May 24, 1951, by his old Duke friend, now ordained Methodist minister, Nick Kupferle, at First United Methodist in Weatherford, across the street from the house in which Jeanne grew up.
After several years with the Bureau in California in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and finally Oakland, Roy and Jeanne returned to Weatherford where he practiced law, became Parker County District Attorney, and enjoyed a successful career as a lawyer, and real estate developer, and later an owner and operator of several operating companies including Antelope Oil Tool and other manufacturing concerns.
Roy was an active Methodist lay leader locally and nationally for more than forty years. While a member at Couts Memorial Methodist in Weatherford, Roy served as Central Texas Conference Lay Leader, Secretary of the Jurisdictional Board of Lay Activities, Trustee of the Wesleyan Home and the Methodist Mission Home of Texas and other leadership roles. He also served on various national boards of the Methodist Church, including the Board of Directors for the Methodist Corporation in Washington, D.C. and the General Council on Finance and Administration in New York City. He was a frequent speaker on stewardship and mission at Methodist churches around the state and a delegate to various church conferences in the United States and abroad, including World Methodist Council sessions in London (1966), Denver (1971), Dublin (1976), and Hawaii (1981).
Roy was also an active civic participant in his community, being in the Masonic Lodge (33rd Degree Mason) and serving as President of the United Way, Chairman of March of Dimes, Chairman of Parker & Palo Pinto District Boy Scouts of America and Executive Committee of Longhorn Council, President of the Lions Club, as well as other charitable causes. Roy was chairman of the Parker County Crime Commission and, with other area leaders, helped to found Project Opportunity, a locally funded full scholarship provider to graduates of Weatherford High School with good academic and personal records. As the head of Civic Development, Inc., Roy spearheaded the fundraising and construction of the Doss Heritage and Cultural Center, which opened in 2006 and showcases the rich cultural heritage and history of Weatherford. In recognition of his civic commitment, Roy was awarded many honors, including Weatherford’s “Citizen of the Year” in 1992, Weatherford College’s Paragon Medallion in 1995, and the Carlos Hartnett Award in 2000.
Roy had a passion for traveling with his family that started with road trips as a child in the 1930s to places like Carlsbad Caverns, Yellowstone, and Pike’s Peak. Family trips to Europe in the 1960s and 1970s only further ignited the travel bug such that, upon his retirement in 1976 on his 50th birthday, he and Jeanne began to travel the world as if on a mission, being gone months at a time around the world several times, from Asia to Africa and South America to the South Pacific and beyond, including an early trip to China shortly after borders opened to U.S. tourists. The highlight of all his travels, however, was the “12-year-old trip” for each of his eight grandchildren in which Roy and Jeanne took the grandchild to a place of his or her choosing, anywhere in the world, for their 12th birthday, with the sole condition being that the grandchild had to “dress for dinner” every night.
Since retiring, almost every day for the last 40 years was marked by 3-mile walks in the morning and Kir Royales in the evening — all with his beloved bride by his side.
Survived not only by his wife Jeanne and his three children, Georganne Catalani (husband Blas), Jeaneane Milton (husband Larry), and son Roy Joe “Jay” Grogan Jr. (wife Whitney), “Papa” leaves eight grandchildren, including Tyler Milton of Dallas (wife Sloan); Garrett Milton of Aliso Viejo, California; Meredith Milton of San Antonio; Dr. Blas Steven Catalani III of Memphis (wife Rachel); Bryan Catalani of San Antonio (wife Alexandra); Reed Grogan of Denver (wife Christine); Trent Grogan of Denver; and, William Grogan of Dallas, all of which he proudly held within an hour of their birth. In recent years, Roy and Jeanne celebrated their seven great-grandchildren, Wyatt Milton, Brock Roy Milton, Truly Milton, Tipper Milton, Boone Milton, Blas Steven Catalani IV, and Riley Jackson Catalani.
The entire Grogan family is thankful for the tireless and continuing service of many caregivers (including Ginger, Bridgett, Xcynthia, Rosa, Tiffany, Jennifer, Tara, and others) and long-time family friend, Dr. Mark Eidson.
Given current health restrictions, there will be no public service or gathering at this time. As such, there is no need for flowers or other such outreach. Instead, all are encouraged to direct any remembrances to Roy’s favorite cause, Project Opportunity, Attn: Ed Kramer, P.O. Box 1089, Weatherford, Texas 76086.
Above all else, Roy was decent and kind and a calming presence no matter the storm. And now, in this moment of chaos and uncertainty in the world, there is peace at his home on Fossil Hill though one less Kir Royale at sunset.
The Community News
April 3, 2020