BIO - Father Edward J. Grotovsky

Father Edward J. Grotovsky was a tremendous man. His life story could be a movie-motivational, plausible and spiritual — to ignite passion for the Lord in most human beings. Father Ed was not always a priest; he was first a husband, a father to four children, and a grandfather to eight. He was a banker who traveled the world in his first career, working for 37 years at the Harris Bank in Chicago, IL. Being a husband, father, grandfather, and banker helped him succeed in his second career as a Catholic Priest.

On March 9, 1980, I was awakened from a sound sleep by the distressing sound of my father calling for help. He raced up the stairs to my bedroom. I can still recall my father's voice and the tremendous pain when he informed me, "Mom has died in her sleep." Life turned frantic! This end to a short yet splendid life was the beginning of a life manifested in dedication to love and service to the Lord.

As far back as I remember, my dad was always involved with the church. He was an usher, a lector, a parish council member and, having a background in banking, a member of the financial committee. He was a youth group leader and continued on to become a deacon so he could serve the entire congregation. When Fr. Ed retired from the Harris Bank in 1989, he decided to enroll in the seminary and launch a second career as a Catholic Priest. I think his decision was his way of showing my mother the dedication and love he had for her; he loved her whole heartedly and honored her memory by devoting his life to Jesus, his Lord and savior. This decision is an outstanding testimonial to what human love and marriage are supposed to be.

Fr. Ed became an inspired priest through all the trials and errors which life presented. He was able to turn around a financially troubled parish, give guidance to widows and widowers, and counsel parents when they thought the only troubled children in life were their own. Fr. Ed preached love, patience, and forgiveness. He lived the beatitudes:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
  • Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
  • Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Fr. Edward J. Grotovsky died suddenly on November 11, 2006. Amazingly, he passed away the same way his wife, my mother, passed, in his sleep - so peacefully. At his wake and funeral, the thing I remember most was the way the whole community, not just the Catholic community, paid their respect to such a great man. There were members of other religions - Lutherans, Protestants, and other Christian faiths - who spoke of his commitment to everyone; he preached love of your fellow man and love of Jesus. The dictionary explains the word "catholic" as an adjective meaning the following three things:

  • All- inclusive
  • Useful to all
  • All-embracing.

This was Fr. Ed - he turned no one away. In memory of his legacy, I have established the Father Ed Grotovsky Foundation to offer support to any individual who is entering religious life, who is willing to give of themselves for the betterment of other's faith, and who is willing to continue Fr. Ed's mission of preaching the love of Jesus and fellow man. Such individuals are invited to submit an essay explaining how they intend to make our world a better place in our Lord's name and continue the work which Fr. Ed started. The Foundation offers scholarships to individuals most qualified for this journey. I look forward to meeting the recipient of this award.


Tom Grotovsky