Charles Andrew Grotz

Jan 24, 1923 – Jan 12, 2019

Charles Andrew Grotz obituary image 1



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. 



Jessica Mumley
Bellingham, WA
Jan 28, 2019

This weekend we celebrated the life of my dear Papa Charles Grotz, who passed away at 95. He was a WWII veteran, brilliant engineer, avid gardener, golfer, and runner. And, to me, he was a sweet grandpa who I will miss. He taught me how to play pool (Geoff can tell you it was my killer pool skillz that won him over). A faithful father and husband, he cared for Nana day in and day out, as her health declined the last 20 years of her life. As a couple, he was the salty to Nana's sweet (like any good dessert - you need both), and later in life his sweetness grew as a grandpa and great-grandpa to my kids in especially meaningful ways. Thankful to gather with family to remember this dear man.

carolyn ward
orting, wa
Jan 25, 2019

i will truly miss my wonderful uncle. i have a lot of great .

memories that I will always cherish. Most of all I will miss our Sunday visits. We had a set time between 2-3PM. Good conversations great laughter,snacks and 2 Buck Chuck my favorite.

I have been thinking a lot about Phyllis , my mother, Larry an Margie how I miss them and how they cared for each other. What a great family.

My heart and prayers goes out to everyone

Love you all.

pat cervenka
Seattle, Washington
Jan 22, 2019

Stan and I knew Phylllis and Charlie for many years-- --We looked forward to their smiles and waves as they passed us at Communion--Stan enjoyed and admired Charlie as they often made St Vincent calls together--when I asked Charlie if I could help in any way as Phylillis became disabled he wrote a lovely handwritten letter thanking me and sharing how they were handling this time together--Charlie was an intelligent caring man--the world is poorer with his passing--my condolences to his family--I remember Pam as a darling young girl--a friend to our Mary--Charlie and Phyllis will live on in all the wonderful memories of your time together---Pat Cervenka

Martha Brock & Ruth and Earl DeWitt
Burien, WA
Jan 20, 2019

We are saddened to hear of Charlie's passing and send our heartfelt condolences to the Grotz family.

Charlie was a wonderful person and we treasure the times we spent with him and Phyllis over the years.

God bless you all.

Gary and Gudie
Tacoma, WA
Jan 20, 2019

So sad to learn of your Dads passing

Our heartfelt condolences to you and your family

In reading his obituary, he was a wonderful person of the “Great Generation”

Clare Elizabeth
Seattle, Wa
Jan 20, 2019

Gloria, you should be very proud of your father! He and my mom were cut from the same clothe...a rare quality these days! My heart felt condolences!

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