Aug. 24, 1913 - Feb. 11, 2017

Clarence Slade Groves, 103, of Olney Springs, Colorado, passed away Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, in care of family and nurses at the Crowley County Nursing Center in Ordway, Colorado. Born in rural Pope County, Illinois, Aug. 24, 1913, to Isaac Jennings and Ella Mae Groves.

From the age of 7 he helped farm, clear timber, handle livestock, and hunt and trap, checking his trap line in the morning before school, then going to school early where he would help start the wood stove in the schoolhouse. He was proud of the hard work he was tasked with, even as a young boy. However, times became increasingly difficult for the Groves family, and after the death of his father when Clarence was young, he quit school and began general labor and farm work for 75 cents a day. It was these hard times in Illinois that would soon result in Clarence and his mother leaving for the relatively prosperous farming in Manzanola, Colorado, where his brother had found work for two dollars a day.

Arriving by train at the Manzanola depot in 1928, Clarence quickly began working on farms and handling cattle. With 77 silver dollars his mother had saved he began farming land as his own, and by the time the 1930s ended he was farming the very place he first worked on when he arrived from Illinois. Farming turned into ranching in 1947 in Rocky Ford, and then Arlington, Colorado, ranching then turned into full-time livestock order buying and trading at the sales in La Junta, where he bought and sold at every sale. He went on to buy and sell farms and ranches and continued to trade livestock for well over 50 years.

Clarence was married to Irene Ball Groves, on Oct. 19, 1935, whom he first met on a blind date. They celebrated nearly 73 years of marriage until Irene's death in 2008. Clarence and Irene last made their family home in Olney Springs, Colorado, where they had lived since 1972. He enjoyed gardening at their family home, turning the entire yard into a garden, and could tell you how to grow just about anything. He and Irene enjoyed attending and serving at the churches they were fortunate to be a part of in the area and made many dear friends because of it. At 101, he was named the Arkansas Valley Silver King, his talent was story telling. Clarence loved talking about the cattle business up until his very last days and always had a story to tell you about a farm he worked on or owned, or a story from the cattle auctions.

He is survived by children; Gilbert (Sheila) Groves, Donald (Cathy) Groves, Melvin (Christine) Groves, Beverly (Roy) Armstrong, and Barbara Wolfe, 12 grandchildren and numerous great- and great-great- grandchildren. He counted his large family and long life as a true blessing. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Irene, and siblings, Diamond, Alfred, Stella, Dora and Ethel Groves.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. at the Crowley Community Baptist Church in Crowley, Colorado with Pastor Ken West officiating. Interment will follow at the Olney Springs Cemetery in Olney Springs, Colorado.

In lieu of flowers memorial Contributions may be made to the Arkansas Valley Hospice Association, P.O. 408, La Junta, CO 81050, direct or through the funeral home.

Online condolences may be made at Peacock-Larsen Funeral Home & Arkansas Valley Crematory is in charge of arrangements.