Obituary: GROW, RICHARD

Published: Friday, July 25 2014 1:20 a.m. MDT

Richard William "Dick" Grow, 85, beloved father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, World War II veteran, scientist, professor, and patriarch, was reunited with his wife, Peggy, on June 8, 2011, after 22 1/2 years apart. Dick was born on Halloween, October 31, 1925, to Joseph Henry Grow and Helen Mary Horne in Lynndyl, Utah. He was raised with his sister Beverley in Union Pacific "company housing" along the tracks in "whistle stop" towns between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. He skipped the fourth and 12th grades and left high school in Caliente, Nevada at age 16, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, to attend the University of Utah to study electrical engineering. Dick was always very active in the LDS faith and proud that all eight of his great grandparents settled in Utah before the coming of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. In June 1944 at age 18, he enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lexington, named by Tokyo Rose "The Blue Ghost" for its amazing history of survival. Dick maintained the radio and the newly-invented radar equipment for the Combat Information Center that directed the naval task force of which the Lexington was flagship. He was honorably discharged from the Navy at age 20 on May 25, 1946, after serving for 25 months. After reenrolling at the U, he met Peggy Anne Staub, a nursing student and recent convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They married in the Salt Lake Temple on September 3, 1947. During their first year of marriage, Peggy worked as a nurse and gave birth to their first son, Richard. Dick completed his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering with high honors in 1948 and his Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1949, both at the University of Utah. From 1949 to 1951, Dick worked in Washington, D.C. on a highly classified project to develop technology for testing the first hydrogen bomb. He was in charge of the electronics equipment which measured the output at ground zero when the first hydrogen bomb exploded on Enewetak Atoll in the South Pacific on May 9, 1951. Their second son Robert was born in Washington, D.C. in 1949. Dick pursued a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, completing his degree in 1955, and continued his pioneering research at the Stanford Electronics Laboratories until 1958. Two more children, David in 1953 and Margaret in 1954, were added to the family in Palo Alto. In 1958, Dick was recruited by the University of Utah as an associate research professor in electrical engineering. His research centered on microwave and millimeter-wave vacuum tubes, solid-state devices, quantum electronic devices, applied optics, microwave diagnostics, and millimeter-wave and infrared imaging. During his career, he consulted for many prominent companies, supervised dozens of doctoral candidates, produced hundreds of papers and articles, and initiated several patents. From 1965 to 1977, he was Chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering, serving longer than any other chair in the last fifty years. During this time, he recruited key faculty members to the University who would build the Computer Science Department and the Department of Biophysics and Bioengineering. Professor Grow helped create the explosive growth in technology that has contributed to Utah's thriving high-tech economy. The University has always been Dick's second home, and after Peggy's death in 1988, his University friends and colleagues rallied around him. Although he enjoyed research, he loved teaching students even more. In 1972, Dick was recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) for outstanding achievements in both his technical field and in engineering education. In 1983, he was presented the Distinguished Research Award at the U of U. In 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Governor's Medal in Science and Technology by Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. "in recognition for outstanding achievements and contributions in Science and Technology with significant impact to the State of Utah." He taught engineering for 52 years at the University, teaching his last class in April of this year, and attended his 52nd graduation ceremony as a professor shortly before his death, a record which will likely remain unbroken. Dick was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and enjoyed serving as scoutmaster, stake missionary, seventy, high councilor, high priest group leader, bishopric counselor, and stake patriarch in the Salt Lake Mount Olympus Stake. He was a devoted home teacher for five decades in the Mount Olympus 7th Ward, where he has many lifelong friends. In addition, he served in the Salt Lake Temple for 16 years and as a Temple Square host with his wife for 14 years. He shared a love for family history with his wife Peggy. He began serving as the genealogist for the Henry Grow Family Organization in 1964 and traveled to Germany, Pennsylvania, and other locations to research the Grow family ancestry. He also served as historian of the Joseph Horne and William Joseph Horne family organizations. Each grandchild has a large book of genealogy full of his and Peggy's work. In 1964, Dick and Peggy welcomed an eight-year-old Navajo girl named Elaine Nelson Charles into their home as part of the Indian Placement Program of the LDS Church. The family embraced Elaine; the boys became her protectors and Margaret finally had a sister. Elaine lived with them during the school year for eight years. The Grow family is proud of Elaine and her five children. Dick and Peggy's son David was killed in 1974 while serving an LDS mission in Pennsylvania. This devastating event, however, strengthened and deepened Dick's testimony, which he relied upon again when Peggy passed away in 1988 after a prolonged struggle with cancer. Dick's quiet, steady example of faith, service, and persistence in the face of daunting obstacles has greatly inspired his family. As family patriarch, Dick has always been very proud of his growing posterity, frequently attending special events of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren at which he was often taking slides or movies. His smile and his flowing white hair will be greatly missed at family activities. Dick saw his first Broadway show in 1954 and was hooked on the stage, particularly the great musicals of the last fifty years. He attended over 400 productions on Broadway, first with Peggy and then with his daughter Margaret. For nearly 50 years, he held season tickets to Pioneer Memorial Theater, taking his children and grandchildren with him. He was an avid fan of the U of U Gymnastics Team for nearly 30 years, traveling to many national gymnastics tournaments. He supported the University of Utah in every way and championed "Red" wherever he went! Dick was also an avid fisherman, taking many trips with his family to Yellowstone, Flaming Gorge, and other locations, towing his boat behind his beloved and now ancient camper. He enjoyed fishing in Alaska and after a rapid six-week recovery from a broken hip, he went fishing in Alaska in 2010 accompanied by his son Robert, his grandson-in-law Karl Sun, and his oldest great-grandson Alex Sun. Together they caught a 282 pound halibut-a true fish story! Dick enjoyed traveling and visited Germany, England, France, Italy, Sweden, Russia, Mexico, Guatemala, Israel, Egypt, Japan, and many other places. With members of his family, he recently revisited the places he grew up and went to see his ship, the U.S.S. Lexington, now docked in Corpus Christi, Texas. We know Dick is happily reunited with his dear wife Peggy. They will now have the opportunity to serve the mission together that they planned so long ago. He is also reunited with his parents, his missionary son David, and his older brother Bobby. He will be greatly missed by his good friend and sister Beverley Stephan, Salt Lake City; his children: Richard (and Jody) Grow, Salt Lake City; Robert (and Linda) Grow, Sandy; Margaret (and Clark) Sevy, Salt Lake City; and his Navajo daughter Elaine (and Harry) Sombrero, Kayenta, Arizona; his 16 grandchildren: Jennifer A. Berard (Wayne), Nicole A. Evans (John), Trista L. Sterner (Josh) and Lara M. Yates (Breton); Lisa A. Sun (Karl), Robert W. Grow (Tricia), Matthew J. Grow (Alyssa), Adam J. Grow (April), Serena A. Heiner (Doug), and David M. Grow (Lisa); David G. Sevy (Krista), Shaunda A. McKay (David), Shayla L. Tucker (Michael), Eric C. Sevy, R. Christopher Sevy (Jessica), and Alan J. Sevy (Danielle); and his five Navajo grandchildren: Jon Sombrero (Genevieve), Alex Sombrero (Reline), Dale Sombrero (Gepetta), Dori Sombrero, and R.C. Sombrero (Amanda); as well as his 40 young great grandchildren and six Navajo great grandchildren. Funeral services for Dick will be held on Monday, June 13, 2011, at 12:00 noon at the LDS Mount Olympus 7th (Fortuna) Ward, 4407 S. Fortuna Way (3605 E.), Salt Lake City, where friends may call Sunday evening from 6-8 p.m. and Monday morning from 10-11:30 a.m. Interment will be next to his wife and son in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, 200 "N" Street, Salt Lake City, UT. Please leave online condolences for the family at www.larkinmortuary.com.