December 29,1918-March 31, 2020
Carl Groesbeck of Wheaton, Illinois, passed away on March 31, 2020, surrounded by family at his home at the age of 101. Loving husband to Mary Lucille Groesbeck (1927-1989). Loving father of Carl, Christopher, Jonathan Groesbeck (Judy) of Tiburon, CA, Delia Nau (William) and Laura Groesbeck (Erik Van Haaren). Loving grandfather of Colin Groesbeck and Gwen Bieszczat; Peter, Christine and John Groesbeck; Hannah, Dustin, Blake and Cade Groesbeck of Tiburon, CA; and Augusta Nau.
Carl was born on December 29, 1918, to Louis and Augusta Groesbeck (née Mattes). Carl was preceded in death by his four siblings: John, Joseph, Louise and Susan Groesbeck. Carl graduated from Bradley University with a degree in mechanical engineering and earned an MBA from the University of Chicago. He worked for Peoples Gas in Chicago, Illinois.
Carl enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in December 1941, the day after he received news that his friend, James McCarren, went down on the USS Arizona. During WWII, Carl earned both his bombardier and celestial navigator wings. On October 9, 1943, 2nd Lt. Groesbeck’s plane was shot down over the Baltic Sea while returning from a mission. Carl spent 16 months as a POW in Stalag Luft 3. In January of 1945, as the Soviets advanced on Germany, Carl and his fellow POWs were force-marched 390 miles in sub-zero temperatures from Sagan, Poland to Moosburg, Germany where he was liberated in April of 1945 by Gen. Patton. Following the war, Carl attended Stalag Luft 3 POW and 306th Bombardment Group reunions. In the early 1990’s, Carl met a crew member, Heinz Phipps, from the plane that shot him down and they became friends.
Carl’s interests included travel, golf, duplicate bridge, his Scottish Terriers and growing roses. He was an active member of St. Mark’s Catholic Church, serving as both an usher and a Eucharistic minister. In 2015, Carl received the Resurrection Merit Award as a tribute from the parish.
Carl was a special man, a touchstone for his children. He will be missed. A private burial was held on April 2, 2020. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to St. Mark’s Church, 303 East Parkway Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187.