August 10, 1908 ~ October 25, 2002

Born in: Traveler's Rest, SC,
Resided in: Arden, NC

Arden - The Reverend W. Harold Groce passed away Friday, October 25, 2002, at the Hospice Solace Center, following a short illness. Mr. Groce was 94. A Methodist minister, Reverend Groce served a number of churches in Western North Carolina and also served as Asheville District Superintendent for the United Methodist Church from 1969 to 1972. WNC churches served were Saluda-Tryon, Asheville Asbury Memorial, Weaverville and Canton Central. Reverend Groce also served eight other churches in the Western North Carolina Conference and as North Wilkesboro District Superintendent during his 40 year career. During Mr. Groce’s tenure as Asheville District Superintendent the Asheville-Buncombe County Cooperative Christian Ministry was launched with seed money he obtained from the United Methodists’ Fund for Reconciliation as an interdenominational project. Another area of emphasis was helping strengthen small churches. As church pastor, Mr. Groce was recognized for his pastoral care and preaching. Reverend Groce was a son of the late Rev. T.A. and Elizabeth Hunt Groce. Reverend Groce’s ministry followed in the footsteps of his father, who died in 1962, who also served a number of churches in Western North Carolina from 1909 as a circuit rider on the Jonathan Creek charge through establishing Abernethy Methodist Church, West Asheville and Groce Methodist Church, Tunnel Road, following his formal retirement. Mr. Groce is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mildred Cornette, the daughter of another WNC Conference minister, James Cornette. Mildred was not only the love of his life, but also an important support and partner for his ministry. Together they continued a heritage of effective pastoral care and ministry. Mr. Groce was born, August 10, 1908, in Traveler’s Rest, SC. He attended Weaver College and received his BA from Duke University and BD from Duke Divinity School. He was ordained Elder in 1935. He was active in community work in the locations he served and was also very active in Conference work, serving on a number of Conference Boards. Mr. Groce is survived by his wife, Mildred Cornette of the home; a son, Bill, and his wife Barbara, of Atlanta, GA; a daughter, Susan of Arden; a son, Bob, and his wife Donna, of Amelia Island, Fla.; a grandson, Hal, and his wife Sherri, of Charlotte; a granddaughter, Marti; a grandson, Clark, and his wife Stacy, all of Woodstock, GA and a grandson, Scott Bynum, of Atlanta, GA. Mr. Groce had five great-grandchildren, Zachary and Erin of Charlotte and Megan, Claire and Caroline of Woodstock, GA. Also surviving are two brothers, Fred, and his wife June, and Hugh Groce, all of Asheville and a sister-in-law, Henrietta Fraser Groce of Charlotte. Mr. Groce also had eleven nieces and nephews. The funeral service will be at 11:30 a.m. Monday, at Abernethy United Methodist Church, where Mr. Groce was a member. The Reverend Dr. Jacob Martinson and the Reverend Rusty Inman will officiate. Burial will follow in Green Hills Cemetery. His family will receive friends from 4 until 6 pm Sunday at Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian on Long Shoals Road. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Abernethy United Methodist Church, 1418 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC 28806, to Mountain Area Hospice Capital Campaign Fund, P.O. Box 25338, Asheville, NC 28813, or to Leadership Ministries, Mt. Pisgah UMC, 9820 Nesbit Ferry Road, Alpharetta, GA 30022, in memory of Mr. Groce.

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  1. Mildred,
    First, let me thank you for the note in response to the invitation to my retirement celebration. I knew you would not be able to attend, but you had been so special as my D.S. and ‘first lady’ that I wanted you to know you were being remembered. Pat and I will continue to hold you close in our prayers now that Harold is gone. He was tops in my book.

  2. Susan,
    I am so sorry to hear about your dad, but I didn’t know until late monday evening. We both know he’s in a better place, not suffering but rejoicing with family & friends who proceeded him. My love & condolence to you & please give my love to your Mom & the rest of the family. If I can help you in any way don’t hesitate to call.

  3. Babs and Bill,
    I was so sorry to learn of Rev. Groce’s death. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Fred, June, Hugh and Family, Just to let you know that I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. The Groce family has been dear to my family for decades! I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet all of the family, but I knew all of the brothers, and a lot of their children. Jane Anne Luther.


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