Jeanne Groves

Published 4:16 pm Monday, September 7, 2020

Jeanne Groves, loving wife, and mother of four sons, died Sept. 4, 2020, at the age of 88.

Jeanne, a coal miners’ daughter, was born in Wilkes Barre, Pa., on July 22, 1932, to Benjamin and Stella Casner. After high school, she moved to Phoebus and became a secretary at Fort Monroe, where she met and married Sgt. James “Jim” Groves on Sept. 12, 1951. Jeanne and Jim moved many times until his retirement from the Army, including posts in Germany, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas before settling down in Smithfield in 1964. They raised four sons, James, Benjamin, Dean and Mark.

Jeanne had a passion for family, friends and community. She was a foodie and was a well-known talent preparing wonderful meals not only for entertaining family and friends, but also managing the Smithfield Inn, partnering in a seafood restaurant and a catering business. In addition, Jeanne authored the “Do You Want to Eat” cookbook.

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For many years, Jeanne was active with the Smithfield Little Theatre, both at its original Cotton Gin location and its current home, often in starring roles such as Mother Superior in “Nunsense.” Not only did she donate 143 pints of blood to the American Red Cross, but for years she also prepared sandwiches and cookies for the canteen. Jeanne was always a strong swimmer, had a long history of supporting the YMCA and until the age of 86 led deep water aerobics classes. Jeanne was also a member of Trinity United Methodist Church.

Jeanne and Jim enjoyed a long and healthy retirement. They became “snowbirds,” driving their minivan across the USA for months if not seasons at a time, visiting family and friends from coast to coast.

Jeanne was preceded in death by her father, Ben, mother, Stella, husband, Jim, son, Benjamin (Buck), sister, Leona, and brother, Bernie. Jeanne is survived by three sons, James (Wanda), Dean (Mary), Mark (Michelle), and the joys of Honey’s life, eight grandchildren, Nick, Rob, Jessica, Katie, Victoria (Drew), Mark, Anabelle and Andrew, and two great-grandchildren, Riley and Declan.

The family is ever grateful for the caretaking and companionship of Cheryl Latimore and Sabrina Batten, as well as the Isle of Wight Rescue Squad and Sentara Obici Hospital.

A graveside funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 11, at St. Luke’s Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the American Red Cross or Smithfield Music, P.O. Box 157, Smithfield, VA 23432. Online condolences may be registered at