Cyrus Benjamin ‘Ben’ Groat, 103, of Niles

Published 2:38 pm Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Born: Jan. 4, 1910

Died: July 21, 2013

Cyrus Benjamin “Ben” Groat, age 103, of Niles, Mich., died on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at the home of his nephew following an extended illness. He was born Jan. 4, 1910 in Niles to Maxwell and Mabel (Woodford) Groat.



Ben was graduated from Niles High School in 1929. He was the last surviving member of the school’s State Champion Track and Field team and a remarkable football player for his school. After graduation, Ben worked on the family farm then ran the Franz and Groats general store in Niles and went on to work for Davis Products. Ben eventually made his career in management of the Montgomery Ward’s Sporting Goods department, retiring in 1975.

Ben was a successful hunter, having taken the same hunting retreat 53 years in a row to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He and his father, Max, bred and trained sulky horses, never missing a race at the Cass County Fair. He was an excellent artist; he enjoyed the mediums of both acrylic and oil paints as well as pen ink and charcoal. Ben was a published poet and an accomplished organ musician, having recorded many of his performances. He also had a passion for the history of Niles and created many invaluable documents, maps and references of the evolving town.

On April 5, 1942 in Niles he married the former Blanche Williams, who preceded him in death after almost 43 years of marriage. He then had a long relationship with girlfriend, June Teske, who also preceded him in death recently, as well as a brother, Robert “Bob” Groat, who died in 2002.

Ben is survived by two nephews, Gary Groat of Niles and Bob Groat of Alameda, Calif.; as well as several nieces, great-nieces and great-nephews.

The family will receive relatives and friends from Noon until the time of service.

Funeral services for Ben Groat will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 26, 2013 at the Halbritter Funeral Home with Pastor Matthew Bair officiating. Interment will follow at Morris Chapel Cemetery, Niles.

Donations in memory of Ben may be made to Morris Chapel United Methodist Church, 1730 Holiday, Niles, Michigan 49120.