John Randall Groves, Jr., of Waxhaw, N.C., loving husband, adoring father, true and faithful friend to so many, went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Wednesday, December 20th, 2023 with his family by his side. Randall’s life verse was “I am waiting patiently for the mighty shout and the trumpet call!” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Well done, good and faithful servant.
A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held for Randall on Tuesday, January 16th at 11:00 am in The Calvary Chapel at Calvary Church, 5801 Pineville-Matthews Road, Charlotte, NC 28226.
Randall was born on June 26, 1939 in Cleveland, TN, the only child of the late John Randall Groves, Sr., and Clara Bernice Russell Groves, his beloved parents who set examples for Randall of deep faith and hard work. During the difficult post-Depression era, his father toiled in Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Colorado. They settled finally in Tampa, FL where Randall attended Hillsborough High School, playing on the football team, serving as sports editor of the school newspaper and enjoying the sunny beach life. He then attended The Citadel in Charleston, SC, where he was president of the Baptist Student Union and editor for both The Brigadier and The Guidon. He was an honors student, graduating in 1961 as a commissioned Army officer.
While at The Citadel, he met Jane Bailey, the love of his life, at a Baptist Student Union dinner in Charleston, where he boldly threw his garrison cap across the table and into her lap during a providentially long prayer to get her attention. It did! They married on December 22, 1961 in Burlington, NC and have remained best friends and by each other’s side through life’s many travel adventures, challenging trials, and immeasurable joys. Jane’s love language was cooking for him for 62 years — especially from her bountiful gardens — and he always pushed back in his chair, gratefully smiled and said, ‘Jane, thank you for my delicious dinner!’.
Randall then received a scholarship to attend Tulane School of Law in New Orleans, where he served on the honor board, as chief judge of the moot court board, and as class vice president. He was admitted to practice law in both Florida and North Carolina.
It was in New Orleans in 1963 that Jane and Randall joyfully welcomed their son, Erik, and then, after settling back in Maryland and then North Carolina, were blessed with the addition of their three daughters, Julia, Laura and Susan.
In 1965, Randall reported for Basic Infantry Officer’s Training at Fort Benning, GA and Fort Holabird, MD. He was posted to go to Vietnam, but at the very last minute was reassigned to a tour of duty at The Pentagon in Washington, DC, where he was an aerial reconnaissance and imaging specialist with the United States Army. In 1967, he accepted a position as a trial attorney for the Internal Revenue Service in Greensboro, NC, where he was also a Sunday school teacher and a deacon. This experience allowed him to move Jane and their four children to Charlotte, NC in 1971 where he became a member of the Rotary Club, was chairman of the Tax Section of the NC Bar Association and joined Thigpen & Hines law firm, heading up their corporate law and tax controversy practices. He was selected to serve on the Southeastern IRS Tax Liaison Committee and served 20 years. He was also a charter member of the Board of Advisors of the UNC Tax Institute in Chapel Hill, NC. He later joined the law firm of Weinstein & Sturges where he was eventually a managing partner. Leaning on his experience working for the IRS early in his career, he welcomed any opportunity to relentlessly defend taxpayers as they fought back against the IRS, winning cases and pushing back against government overreach. He also pioneered the “educational benefit trust” allowing companies to save for the future college costs of employees’ children. In Charlotte, he held several board positions with the Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, Meredith College, and TPC Piper Glen.
As an innovative and creative entrepreneur, Randall owned a tree farm in the Blue Ridge mountains, co-founded a successful retail clothing store chain and published his lifelong work of fiction, Between Eden and Hell.
Randall’s servant heart found its home at Calvary Church in southeast Charlotte, where he served for many years as elder, adviser, and clerk for the church. In the mid-1980s, Randall and Jane met Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ and pledged support for their newest project: the “JESUS” film. It was instrumental in evangelizing the world through translated voiceovers in native languages. Randall and Jane personally contributed their time and treasure to mission travel and to fund translations of “JESUS” into numerous languages, including Russian, Mandarin (China), Swedish, Mayan (Mexico), Arabic (Egypt), and Nyarafolo (Ivory Coast). They also sponsored film teams in India, China, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Mexico. He served as director of the board of advisors for the film project for years and participated in the premieres of the film in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Finally, they were instrumental in the launch of the digital film version which was viewed online by over 370 million people around the world in 2022 alone. He experienced great joy delivering presents with Operation Christmas Child in both Bosnia and Jamaica and in building a church in Costa Rica.
Randall had a zest for life’s grandest adventures, traveling all over the world, most notably for fishing and hunting. He and his dear friends shared many tall tales and laughs in icy duck blinds or deep ocean waters from Pennsylvania to Colorado and Costa Rica to Mexico—and even on the grassy plains of Tanzania, Africa.
Randall is survived by his loving wife, Jane, and their four children: J. Erik Groves (Elizabeth) of Waxhaw, NC; Julia Walsh (Darren) of Greenwood Village, CO; Laura Baker of Charlotte, NC; and Susan Gregory of Greensboro, NC. His ten grandchildren brought their Poppa great joy and made wonderful memories together, especially at their beach house on Seabrook Island, SC: Stacy O’Hare (Aaron), Christopher Shepard (Maria), Helena Bowersox (John), Grant Gregory, Jackson Baker, Grace Baker, Colin Walsh, John Walsh, Leighton Walsh, and Caroline Gregory. He was also delighted with his three great grandchildren: Everest, Magnolia, and Salem O’Hare.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the “J. Randall Groves Citadel Scholar” Scholarship at The Citadel at foundation.citadel.edu or call (843) 953-5297.