Elizabeth Penn- Grove (Liz) was born in Greenville South Carolina on April 25, 1959. She was adopted March 28, 1960 in Greenville by Herman Joseph Penn and Jean Solnoky-Penn. They briefly moved to Maryland while Herman was advising President Lyndon B. Johnson. She distinctly remembers hiding under the Oval Office desk while her dad and LBJ argued. She was four years old when they moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. In New Orleans she attended OPerry Walker high school, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, University of New Orleans, and Our Lady of Holy Cross College.
She worked many odd jobs in New Orleans including painting and building Mardi Gras floats, desk clerk at the Hilton hotel, and a hair salon. She also owned her dream car, which was a rust red 1968 Pontiac Firebird. She often spoke of the fun things she did during her teen years, including babysitting Cooper and Peyton Manning while Archie was at practice for the New Orleans Saints. She was an avid Saints fan until the day she died, and attended the very first Saints game in Tulane stadium, before they played in the Superdome. She often went to games until they moved away from New Orleans.
After Herman’s death, Liz and Jean moved to South Bend, Indiana in 1984. She continued with odd jobs, including insurance sales and marketing, accounts payable and receivable, and finally settled down to attend college. During this time, she worked for several years at Michiana Community hospital where she made many wonderful friends and met her husband of almost 25 years... They were married on September 30th, 1995. After working at the hospital, she worked part-time at IUSB in campus diversity, and left to have have her daughter. After her daughter was born she was a deacon and a member of the session at Memorial Presbyterian Church, later becoming clerk of the session when the church was going through a difficult time without a permanent pastor. She enjoyed helping lead the church where her family members had laid the cornerstone many years earlier.
She attended both Michiana College and Indiana University South Bend, where in 1997 she received a BA in history with a minor in political science, and a certificate of international studies. She began working in women’s studies under Dr. Pat Mcneal, her good friend and mentor. She also formed and founded the Indiana University South Bend women’s studies union. In 2000, Liz received her Masters in public administration. That same year, she began teaching history and political science at Southwestern Michigan College. In the summer of 2005 she worked as a supervisor of the gift shop and admissions at the College Football Hall of Fame. In the fall of that year she began teaching at Lake Michigan College in the political science department. She also taught United States history, women’s history, and African-American history. She taught her final class in the summer of 2019.
Throughout Amanda’s childhood, she mentored both her and other kids as a leader for the St. Joseph County Indiana 4H program, and often spoke of how enrolling Amanda in 4H was one of the best decisions she had ever made.
Liz is survived by her husband Tom Grove, her daughter Amanda Jean Grove, siblings Sherry Crawford, Jay Reece, Jacque Wolgast, Juliana Martin, Ralph Martin, Russell Martin, Jody Arlt, Janet La Tocha, and Buffie Burrell, step mom Judy Martin, in-laws Ron and Vivian Grove, brothers and sisters in-law, numerous nieces and nephews, and dozens of “extra children,” former students from SMC and LMC, whom she loved dearly.
She was preceded in death by her mom and dad (adopted parents) Herman Joseph Penn and Jean Solnoky-Penn, her mother and father (birth parents) Frances Raines and Ralph Gene Martin Sr., and brothers Howard Penn and Randy Martin.
Services for Liz will be held on Saturday May 23rd at 11:30, at Highland Cemetery. A New Orleans second line/car parade will start at Palmer Funeral Home- Guisinger Chapel, 3718 South Michigan Street, South Bend, IN 46614 and lead to the cemetery. Please be at the funeral home by 10:45 AM to participate and receive Mardi Gras beads.
Memorial contributions can be sent directly to the family for distribution to Liz’s favorite causes, some of which include Riley Children’s Hospital and The Wounded Warrior Project. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Elizabeth "Liz" A Penn-Grove, please visit our floral store.
Riley Children's Foundation
30 S. Meridian Street, Suite 200, Indianapolis IN 46204
Wounded Warrior Project
PO Box 758517, Topeka KS 66675-8517