Darla Nell Grove
Darla Nell Grove (neé Ryan), born May 5, 1943, in Hopkins, Minn., passed away peacefully at her home on Cat Claw Lane in SaddleBrooke on Aug. 23, 2023.
Darla graduated in 1961 from Bloomington High School, where she played clarinet in the band. After graduating from high school, she competed in the Miss Bloomington contest and modeled for Ford Motor Company. Darla earned a bachelor’s degree in small business management from the Minnesota College System and attended North Hennepin Community College, Normandale College, and the University of Minnesota.
Darla married the love of her life, George Grove, one day after a blizzard, on March 26, 1966. Darla worked as a legal secretary, as a receptionist and computer operator for Ford Motor Company, and as a sales representative for Rochelle’s, then Greetings Unlimited, all in the Minneapolis metropolitan region. Darla started her own independent manufacturer’s rep business, DNG Sales, then moved to Gibson Greetings as a sales representative, a regional trainer, and the company’s national sales trainer. Darla and her husband George then operated their plastics business, Advance Plastics Technology in New Hope, Minn. As the founder of three businesses and one of the few senior national female executives in the greeting card industry in the 1980s, Darla could accomplish anything she set her mind to.
In 1995, Darla was invited to visit Tucson, Ariz., by her brother Larry Ryan, where Larry introduced her to the SaddleBrooke community. Darla and George retired and moved to Tucson in 1997, embarking together in a new phase of life and, in a warm-weather reminiscence of their wedding day, during a particularly heavy monsoon. Darla was a member of the SaddleBrooke canasta, Mah Jongg, and bridge clubs. She enjoyed dancing, theater, photography, entertaining, shopping, and interior design. In retirement, Darla started her own video memories company, Southwest Video, and she digitized photos, slides, and home movies to DVD for people inside and outside the SaddleBrooke communities, including memory films of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam for veterans to share with those they served with. Darla helped hundreds preserve and share lifetimes’ worth of happy memories to cherish forever.
Darla was a member of Resurrection Lutheran Church of Tucson.
She is survived by her husband George, her son Gregory and his wife Jamie McLaughlin, her brother Larry Ryan, her niece Kimberly Premo, Kim’s husband Michael, their children Alex, Mallary, and Nathan, and Alex’s wife April.
She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Helen and Lawrence Ryan, her sister-in-law Patricia Ryan, and her beloved dog Maggie (Pumpkin) Grove. In life, Darla missed her friends who passed before her and, in kind, will be missed by the many friends she leaves behind.
The family sends their special thanks to Maria Womack and her team at Gentle Hearts, particularly Angie Martinez, who provided exceptional and loving care in Darla’s final days, and also to Rob Button and the Traditions Hospice team for their constant support and care.
The family is planning memorial services in La Crosse, Wis., and Tucson, Ariz., in the coming months, which will be announced later.