Robin Groff was truly a character. Tough as nails and fearless, whether it was taming wild buffalo or climbing tall mountains. He was willing to take risks in both his personal and professional life, most of which turned out pretty well. He lived life on his own terms and had little use for personal possessions because his focus was on the people he loved. Groff passed away on Jan. 2.
Groff was born on Oct. 24, 1952, in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, to John Groff and Nancy Wickman. The family moved to Moab in 1963 and Groff forever considered this place his home.
After graduating from Grand County High School, he left his desert town to attend the University of Utah where he discovered his passion for archaeology. Groff worked on a lot of “digs” and helped unveil some of the most unique sites in southeastern Utah. He wandered the West gathering misfits and characters that provided him fodder for years of front porch storytelling.
Groff’s love of digging in the dirt evolved into jobs as a surveyor and then a mining engineer. When the mining industry collapsed, Groff, along with his brother Bill, chose to start a bike shop, rather than leave the community they loved. With their foresight and guidance, Moab became the mountain biking capital of the world and they were inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. A photo record of the journey can still be seen plastered to the walls of Rim Cyclery.
Groff didn’t let anything stand in the way of the things he wanted. After 30 years of not drawing a buffalo tag, he decided he would shoot a buffalo off his front porch. This was the start of a 12-year odyssey of raising buffalo on a 2-acre plot in Spanish Valley. The buffalo farm became a gathering place for any and all. He loved his herd, but none was so close to his heart as “Nickel Bill.” Both locals and tourists were thrilled and amazed to see Groff walking the blind baby buffalo up and down Main Street.
Amongst all of these accomplishments, the thing that kept Groff grounded was family. He was lucky enough to be loved dearly by two women. His first wife, Linda Dowd, brought him two daughters, who were the light of his life. He gained another daughter when he married Jolly, whom he would spend the rest of his life with.
Groff enjoyed life and all that it had to offer. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved to fish, hunt and camp with his family. During the last few years Groff reconnected with cycling and could be spotted, almost daily, chugging along up the bike path.
He will be missed by many.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Nancy Groff. He is survived by his wife, Jolly Stanford, his daughters, Sarah Groff; Tessa (Chris) Henri; Jamie (Pete) Murphy; his grandchildren, Peyton Miley; Noah Henri; and Cody Murphy; siblings Bill (LaVona) Groff; Barbie Lawley; and many much-loved nieces and nephews.
Please join the family on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 1 to 4 p.m., for an open house to drink, tell stories and celebrate Groff’s life at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E 100 North.
In lieu of flowers, you can donate to Adopt a Native Elder by visiting www.anelder.org/product/Adopt-An-Elder?ID=6188 or bring a donation for his close friend and favorite weaver, Helen Matcher, and her family.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.SpanishValleyMortuary.com.