How to capture a life lived well in words? If anyone could have done a bang-up job of it, it would have been Steve Grooms: outdoor writer, author, and storyteller extraordinaire. Had the task fallen to Steve, his commitment to written perfection and inability to let go of the editing process would have led to his missing the most final of his deadlines, which came for Steve on Thanksgiving, November 25, 2021, at the age of 79. He spent much of his final day at home in his apartment in St. Paul, Minnesota with his beloved daughter, Molly (Grooms) Kelley. He is greatly missed by his son-in-law John Kelley and grandson Liam Kelley, his sister Nancy (Grooms) Edwards, extended family, and countless friends. Born in Ames, Iowa in 1942 on June 12th, Steve immersed himself in the outdoors, roamed the woods for hours, and engaged in daredevil outdoor activities that would have utterly terrified his mother Charmion (Cox) Grooms, had she known. Steve and his father George Grooms came to love fishing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, and after Steve's graduation from Grinnell College with a Bachelor of Arts in American History, the family moved to Minnesota. Steve earned a master's degree in American Studies at the University of Minnesota, where he met and married Kathe (Schnoes) Grooms. They welcomed daughter Molly in 1977. Then there were the many, many dogs and cats who shared their lives in their iconic Hobbit House in Highland Park in St. Paul. They spent weekends at their cabin in Cornucopia, Wisconsin, where Steve spent many a night sleeping in a hammock in the gazebo his father built, surrounded by fireflies, stars, the Northern Lights and listening to folk music. An avid hunter and fisher, he was the senior editor of Fins and Feathers magazine for five years starting in 1974, before becoming a successful outdoor writer whose writing was published in many magazines and books, including his own Pheasant Hunter's Harvest, The Cry of the Sandhill Crane, Bluebirds, The Ones that Got Away, and The Return of the Wolf. He looked back with pride on his outdoor writing career, noting recently that his writing reflected his progressive politics and helped to legitimize the role of women in outdoor sports. Writing was Steve's method of connecting, and it enriched his life immeasurably, whether through his books or his prodigious correspondence. He remains with us through the gift of his written and spoken voice. Steve has been amusing himself since passing by sending his family and friends various wild animals and birds that comfort and remind us to treasure the outdoor world and the ones we love. A memorial celebration is planned for Summer of 2022.
Published on December 5, 2021
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