Our Family History

 

Our Family

By Lisa Groff

My father, Bob Groff, always told me, “It’s the details that make the difference.” It was something he learned from his father and passed on as part of the Groff way of serving local families. Since 1899, a member of the Groff family has been focused on the details of providing funeral services to the area through a number of different locations and led by four generations of Groffs.

Now, with the help of my brother, Fred, we are proud to be creating a new part of the Groff’s legacy of service here at 528 West Orange. The new location has a long history of being a community gathering place from its origins as the original West End Market, and as a home to other businesses over the years.

We believe that our new home should be a place for people to gather for both solemn and festive occasions, and we wish to welcome the community in the same way we do our families.

We always strive to provide the best possible service for you and your family.

Our People

Elizabeth M. Groff (Lisa) was born in Lancaster in1960 and graduated from McCaskey High School in 1978. She graduated from Elizabethtown College in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

As a student-athlete, Lisa was active with her school’s basketball and tennis teams. As a USPTA Tennis Professional, she coached the Greenwich High School Boys and Fairfield (CT) University women’s teams. Some of her athletic accomplishments include Intell Woman Athlete of the Year in 1978, NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Champions at Elizabethtown College in 1982. Lisa was inducted into the McCaskey Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991.

Lisa began her business career as a Security Consultant with Dictograph Protective Alarms, Greenwich, CT, before earning her degree in Mortuary Science in 1991 from Mt. Ida College in Newtown, MA. Lisa completed her apprentice year at Fred F. Groff, Inc. before becoming a Licensed Funeral Director. After her father Bob’s retirement in 1999, Lisa assumed the role of Licensed Supervisor at Fred F. Groff, Inc. and remained in that position for ten years, until January 2010.

During her 19-year tenure with Fred F. Groff, Inc., Lisa held the positions of Pre-Need Manager, Pre-Arrangement Counselor and Licensed Insurance Agent. She also arranged and conducted funerals for many Lancaster families.

Lisa has been a passionate community volunteer for many years. She has held and currently holds leadership roles with many organizations. Lisa is VP of the Board of Neighborhood Services, serves on the Board of Directors of the Rotary Club of Lancaster, and is a Committee Member for the Lancaster Recreation and Office of Aging’s Senior Games. She is the former Board Chair of the American Red Cross of the Susquehanna Valley, and former Board Chair of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events (MOOSE). Lisa also has worked with the Elizabethtown College Leadership Council and the Lancaster County Historical Society. She is an active member at St. James Episcopal Church in Lancaster where she is co-chair to the Lancaster Council of Churches Capital Campaign.

Lisa enjoys boating, fishing and spending her free time with family and friends on the water in North East, MD.

R. Fred Groff, III was born in 1952 and grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Mercersburg Academy in 1970 and later graduated from Stetson University in 1974 with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. He graduated from Catonsville Community College in 1975 with a degree in Mortuary Science.

He and his wife Robin live in New Holland, and are the parents of two grown sons, Robert F. Groff, IV, and Daniel W. Groff.

Fred's career began in funeral service Baltimore in 1975 with the Henry W. Jenkins Funeral Home and the William E. Johnson Funeral Home. In 1976 he moved to Lexington, Kentucky, and worked for Milward Funeral Homes, returning to Lancaster in the fall that year. In January of 1977, he moved to New Holland to operate the George D. High Funeral Home in connection with the family business, Fred F. Groff, Inc.

Fred operated the Groff-High Funeral Home in New Holland from 1977 to 1980 when his firm merged with the C. Stanley Eckenroth Home for Funerals, Terre Hill, PA. He then operated the Groff-High-Eckenroth Funeral Home in New Holland and Terre Hill until 1985 when he purchased the business and real estate from his father. In 1999, he purchased the Beck Funeral Home, Inc. in New Holland from Edgar O. Beck and continues to own and operate these funeral homes.

Fred is a member of the Selected Independent Funeral Homes, National Funeral Directors Association, Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association, and Lancaster County Funeral Directors Association as a board member.

Fred has been a leader also in other areas of interest. Currently, he serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Ephrata Community Hospital, serving on the Nominating, Strategic Long Range Planning, Executive, and Fund Development and Finance Committees. At Trinity Lutheran Church, New Holland, Fred has served as former President of Church Council and is currently serving on the Outreach and Cemetery committees and as a choir member. Fred serves as advisor to the Board of Historic Poole Forge, Inc., Churchtown, PA. He also serves on the Board of the Eastern Lancaster County Library Board of Trustees. He has sung with the Gap Male Chorus for the past 20 years. He serves as President of the Lancaster Aero Club where he maintains his love of flying as an instrument rated Private Pilot.

Fred enjoys golf, racquetball and recreation in Ocean City, MD.

Tom Buter is a native of Zeeland, Michigan and attended Zeeland Christian schools until his family relocated to the Lancaster area following his father's transfer. Tom then attended and graduated from Manheim Township High School, Class of 1967.

After graduating from college with a degree in Business Administration, Tom began a course of study at Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science graduating in 1970. Tom immediately started his internship with employment at the Fred F. Groff, Inc. Funeral Home, where he was employed for 39 years as a licensed Funeral Director and proudly held the position of Vice President until the business was sold to Founders Service Corporation in 1999. Tom continued his employment with that company until January 2010.

Tom is a graduate of the National Foundation of Funeral Service School of Funeral Service Management, Evanston, IL, Life Appreciation, Los Angeles, CA and is a member of the Funeral Ethics Association and has earned the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP) from the Academy of Professional Funeral Service, Inc.

Tom has served in many volunteer positions in the Lancaster area including The Salvation Army, United Way, Fulton Opera House and SHARE of Lancaster where he held various positions including board presidency. Tom also served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Lancaster County Funeral Directors Association.

A strong supporter of Hospice & Community Care (founded as Hospice of Lancaster County), Tom currently is serving his third term on the Hospice Board of Directors and for 19 years has been Chairman of the Labor Day Auction Committee. Tom serves on the organization's Development and Community Relations Committee and also served on the Grateful Families Division of the Extraordinary Building Campaign. Tom received the Pennsylvania Hospice Network's 2009 Heart of Hospice Award, which recognizes an individual volunteer who demonstrates exemplary generosity and spirit toward the hospice community.

Tom is a member of Covenant United Methodist Church, Lancaster where he currently serves on the Endowment Committee and has served on various other committees.

Tom is a member of Lodge No. 43 F. & A.M., Zembo Shriners, and B.P.O.E. Elks #134, Lancaster.

Our history of funeral service

Original funeral home founded by the Groff family, Quarryville, PA 1892.

The year was 1892 and our great-grandfather, Fred F. Groff began a tradition of service in Quarryville, Pennsylvania. He moved the family business, which at the time also included a repair shop and cabinetmaking shop, to Lancaster in 1899, first to the back of the drugstore on Manor Street across from Christ Lutheran Church and soon after to 439 West Orange Street.

A year later, he took over 234 West Orange Street which also had rooms for the boarders our great-grandmother Edie wanted to take in. He finally settled on undertaking (as it was called then) and when Great-Grandfather died in 1938, his son, Robert F. Groff, Sr.,our grandfather, became president of a growing funeral home business.

Grandfather built the business even further by acquiring George High’s funeral home in New Holland in 1976 and Stanley Eckenroth’s funeral home in 1980. That same year our father, Bob Jr. took over as president of Fred F. Groff, Inc. Brother, Fred joined the firm in 1976 and in 1985 purchased the Groff-High-Eckenroth Funeral Home in New Holland and Terre Hill from the family business and managed them independently ever since. I (Lisa) joined Fred F. Groff, Inc. in 1991 where I was the pre-need manager until 2004.

Between 1980 and 1992 the Fred F. Groff, Inc. Funeral Home added the James C. Maneval Funeral Home in Williamsport, the William Spacht Funeral Home in Lititz, Spencer Wilkerson Funeral Home, the Coble and Reeber Funeral Homes in Middletown, Boyer Funeral Home in Elizabethtown, Smedley Funeral Home in Marietta, Rearick-Carpenter Funeral Home in Jersey Shore, Miller-Hawthorn Funeral Home in Bainbridge, and Fickenger Funeral Home in Coudersport.

In 1999 Bob and Ellen sold the business to Founders Service Corporation of Philadelphia, which has operated all of the homes since that time. After the sale, I served as the licensed supervisor of Fred F. Groff, Inc. Funeral Home on Orange Street from 2004 until December of 2009.

And in 2010, brother Fred and I brought back the family tradition of personalized service by opening The Groffs Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

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