Charles Andrew Grotz
Jan 24, 1923 – Jan 12, 2019
Charles Andrew Grotz
January 24, 1923 – January 12, 2019
Our beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Charlie Grotz, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, at the age of 95, in Burien, Washington. He is survived by a loving family who will miss him deeply: his three children (Pam Newell, Gloria Elliott and Gary Grotz), their spouses (Steve Newell, Tom Elliott and Kim Hargrave), nine grandchildren (Lisa, Jessica, Lesley, Mark, Abby, Bridget, Claire, Peter, and Grace), ten great-grandchildren (Marin, Madeline, Max, Marcus, Owen, Jackson, Maya, Eva, Milo and Julian), several nieces and nephews, and sister-in-law Dorothy Brunette and her husband Rod.
A devoted family man, he was exceptional in so many ways: brilliant, kind, hard-working, resourceful and independent to the very end of his life.
Charlie was born in Tacoma and raised in Fife, Washington on a small family farm. During the depression, to make ends meet, his family raised raspberries, flowers and eggs, as they had hundreds of chickens and ducks. Charlie graduated from Fife High School in 1940, where he was named valedictorian. He was offered a full scholarship at Whitman College, but he chose the University of Washington for a more technical education. His family did not have much money, so he had to drop out after a year. He then worked manual labor jobs in the Tacoma area until the U.S. entered WWII.
He enlisted in 1942 and joined the Army Air Corps. The Army sent him to NYU to further his education until the U.S. landed in Europe. Having been transferred to the infantry, he arrived in France two weeks after D-Day and stayed in Europe until the war ended. He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement for his ideas for the use of artillery. Towards the end of the war, he and another soldier encountered a group of very hungry German soldiers who surrendered to them. The two proudly marched the 39 German soldiers back to camp to be held as prisoners of war. After the war ended, Charlie returned to the UW to finish his Engineering degree in 1947.
Charlie was lucky to meet Phyllis Eyres, the love of his life, after he returned from the war. They married in June 1947, and settled at Three Tree Point, near Burien, where they bought a home in 1953 and raised their family. He spent his free time with the family, teaching the kids to ski and taking them on camping and fishing trips. A jack-of-all trades, Charlie did his own home maintenance, built an 18-foot boat, and bought and remodeled a cabin near Crystal Mountain that served as a family retreat for many years.
He loved Engineering and excelled at it. Landing a job in Aeronautics Development at Boeing, and advancing to management, he served as the leader of propulsion engineering for several airplanes, including the Super Sonic Transport (SST), and developed multiple innovations. Some of his ideas were patented, including one for making jet engines quieter.
Charlie was dedicated to Phyllis and his children and grandchildren. He and Phyllis hosted many family gatherings and overnights with grandkids where delicious dinners and blueberry pancakes are remembered with fondness. In his later years, he and Phyllis traveled, and spent time maintaining their lovely home, hosting family, and tending their large vegetable garden. Charlie also took great joy in teaching and practicing golf with several of his grandchildren. When Phyllis became disabled with Parkinson’s at age 75, Charlie was her sole caregiver for over 20 years, allowing her to stay in the family home until her death in 2017.
After Phyllis’s death, Charlie lived independently in his home. With an inquiring and analytical mind, he would regularly read one or two books a week, always learning and keeping current on new subjects. He kept in touch with his large family, writing personal birthday notes to each great-grandchild. He was generous with everyone.
In keeping with Charlie’s wishes, there will be a simple, private family service. Memorial gifts may be made to the Boeing Museum of Flight.
This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.