Grove going for the century

By Dean Shipley

May 15, 2014

Besides the beginning of World War I, the year 1914 had numerous notable events occur within that 365-day period. Among them are:

• Henry Ford took a quantum leap for his labor force to pay it $5 per day for eight hours, up from $2.40 per day for nine hours. He also began to make use of the assembly line to put together his Model T Fords.

• President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day to be celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

• Later-to-be baseball star George Herman “Babe” Ruth debuted as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and beat the Cleveland Indians.

• Composer W.C. Handy introduced his St. Louis Blues.

• Dora Mae Fling Grove, of Madison County, was born in Prospect, Ohio.

Grove will reach her personal centennial later this month as she completes one century of life, a privilege afforded to few. A celebration in her honor has already taken place at Edgewater Place in Plain City. Nearly the entire community and two of her three children turned out for the milestone birthday.

She was born May 21, 1914 to her parents, Dora Margaret and Clifford Fling, the fifth of six children. She is the lone survivor of that family. Her father supported the family by selling seed to farmers.

Eventually, the family moved to Bexley into a house reportedly behind the Governor’s Mansion. Dora would play on the governor’s lawn. As she grew, she was invited to work in the governor’s home as a server.

While living in Marion County, she met George Delno Grove, who was the family’s paper boy. Though a couple years older than she, they began a courtship and were married in New Jersey. Her husband had taken a job with White Castle restaurants, which sent him to the Garden State.

Their first child, Adelle Grove, was born in 1936. She recently came up to Ohio for her mother’s birthday celebration.

Adelle recalled one of the acts her mother “inflicted” upon her, which turned out to be a life-guiding activity.

“At age six, my mother forced me to take swimming lessons,” Adelle said. “By the time I was 12, she couldn’t get me out of the pool.”

Adelle went on to become a member of the synchronized swimming team at Bowling Green University as she earned her degree in physical education. She eventually became a teacher of the subject at Indian River State College in Florida.

Dora’s two sons, Don, born in 1941, and Edward, born in 1949, are currently owners of their own window blind businesses. They take their work ethic from their mother.

“Mom always worked,” Don Grove said.

While employed at the YWCA, Dora operated the switch board, directed the first-aid program and worked the information desk.

“You had to do everything when you worked there,” Dora said.

She also worked for Lazarus in Columbus.

In her leisure time, Dora enjoyed fishing not only in Lake Erie, but also in Florida. She also combed the beaches for shells. She used the shells to piece and glue together a frame for a mirror, which hangs in her apartment at Edgewater Place.

She has resided there for the last five years. Don Grove said she was one of the first residents of the community.

“Her living here has a lot to do with her longevity,” Grove said. “They take good care of her.”

After all, it’s not every day someone gets to live next door or down the hall from a centenarian.

Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.