Editor’s note: This story is part of a series about Oklahomans who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read the stories of other Oklahomans here. Have you lost a loved one to COVID-19? Help us tell their story.
Watching the first University of Oklahoma football game last fall after her dad died was hard for Jennifer Grove.
Harold Grove, 62, died Oct. 20, 2020 of complications from COVID-19. A devoted OU fan, his apartment in Tulsa was decorated with Sooners gear, including lamps, trash cans and light switch covers.
Jennifer and Harold would often watch the games together while snacking on chili, little smokies sausages and mini corn dogs. He had a booming laugh that carried across a room.
“He always had a big smile on his face, even with the rough year that we’ve had,” Jennifer said.
OU had a rocky start in 2020, with two-back-to back losses early in the season. But the team went on to win its next eight games and beat Florida in the Cotton Bowl.
“He would have loved to know that we kind of rebounded,” Jennifer said.
Each Saturday morning during football season, Jennifer could count on getting a phone call from her dad to ask when and what channel he could watch that day’s Sooners game on TV.
He could have looked up the information on his own, but it was a reason to call and check in.
Father and daughter attended their first Sooners game together during Jennifer’s freshman year of college in Norman in 2012 and Harold’s proudest day was watching Jennifer graduate four years later.
No matter what, Jennifer could always count on her dad to be there for her.
She lost both of her parents in two different pandemics more than a decade apart. Her mother Linda Grove died of H1N1 during the 2009 swine flu pandemic when Jennifer was 16.
She grew and Harold grew closer after her mom died.
They watched TV together on Friday nights and attended home football games at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa.
When Jennifer moved to Norman for college, her roommates called Harold “Daddy Grove” for his frequent phone calls. He loved to cook big meals during holidays and would invite any of her who didn’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving over for dinner.
Harold was born near Guymon in Texas County. He graduated from Guymon High School and earned a degree in culinary arts from Oklahoma State University of Technology in Okmulgee in 1980.
For many years, Harold Grove served as a Boy Scout troop leader and he worked in contracting and sales for Thermal Windows Inc. for more than 20 years.
Survivors include his daughter, Jennifer Grove of Tulsa; a step-son, Joshua France of Tulsa; one sister, Brenda Boomhower of Orange Park, Florida and one brother, Donnie Grove of Guymon.