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Grove, Merlin (1929-1962)

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Mennonite Weekly Review obituary: 1962 Jul 26 p. 1,7

Birth date: 1929

text of obituary:


Africa Missionary Slain, Wife Seriously Wounded

Salunga, Pa. — Merlin Grove, 33, serving as a missionary-evangelist in the East African Republic of Somalia, was reported fatally stabbed on Monday evening, July 16.

His wife, Dorothy, was reported in serious condition with multiple stab wounds suffered at the hands of the same assailant.

Grove merlin 1962.jpg
The couple, from Markham, Ont. is under the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities with headquarters in Salunga, Pa. Paul N. Kraybill, secretary of the board, reported the tragedy after receiving a cablegram from Harold Stauffer, mission business manager in Mogadiscio, the Somali capital.

The attack occurred when missionaries Grove and Stauffer were registering students for evening English classes. A Somali entered the office in the line with the students, and attacked Grove, Stauffer, hearing the screams, rushed to his assistance.

When Mrs. Grove came running to the building the man turned on her, stabbing her three times in the abdomen. She was taken to a hospital where she underwent an operation. According to latest reports, she is recovering. Her husband died immediately from his wounds.

Carl Wesselhoeft, Helen Rank and Anna Lutz, stationed at Mahaddei 70 miles north of Mogadiscio, came immediately to assist. Police radio-telegrammed a message to the missionaries at Margherita, 240 miles to the south, and supplied a vehicle to bring them to the capital.

All other mission workers are reported safe. The Grove children, Bruce 10, Pauline 8, and David 5, are taking the tragedy quite well.

Funeral service took place in Mogadiscio at 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 17. The body was buried in Protestant division of the Catholic cemetery.

Missionaries can recall no incident that may have precipitated the attack, and reported Grove had a good working relationship with the Somali community.

The local populace and police are sympathetic and cooperative. The assailant, reportedly a Moslem priest, is in custody.

The attack came after a resumption of mission activities following a three and a half month government suspension, resulting from pressure by Moslem leaders.

A 1959 graduate of Toronto Bible College, Grove had served in various home mission posts but this was his first overseas assignment. The Groves have been in Somalia for two years. He was recently appointed secretary of the mission.

He was the son of Russell and Annie Grove, Markham, Ont., and attended the Morningside Mennonite Church, Toronto. The slain man's parents visited their son and daughter-in-law last February while on a trip through Africa.

Grove is the first of Eastern Mission Board overseas workers to meet violent death while performing his duties.

Grove merlin family.jpg

Family of Slain Missionary

Missionary Merlin Grove, reported fatally stabbed July 16 at the Mennonite mission in Mogadiscio, Somalia, and Mrs. Grove, also seriously wounded, are shown with their children David, Bruce and Pauline, none of whom was injured. The family, of Markham, Ont., serves under the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities with headquarters in Salunga, Pa. (See story on page 1.)

Mennonite Weekly Review obituary: 1962 Aug 2 p. 3

text of obituary:

Wife of Martyred Missionary Recovering from Stab Wounds

Salunga, Pa. — Mrs. Dorothy Grove, wife of Merlin Grove who was fatally stabbed Monday, July 16, in Somalia, East Africa, is reported recovering from multiple stab wounds suffered at the hands of the same attacker.

Grove dorothy 1962.jpg
Paul N. Kraybill, secretary of the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities, Salunga, Pa., reported the encouraging news after a recent telephone conversation with Harold Stauffer, mission manager in Mogadiscio, capital of Somalia.

Mrs. Grove is reported in good spirits. She is able to sit up a bit, is taking food and is receiving excellent care in a Mogadiscio hospital. Missionary nurses Anna Lutz and Miriam Leaman have been with her constantly.

Government Sympathetic

Missionaries Harold Stauffer and Harold Reed reported that their visit with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Somalia has been most favorable. Sincere and official condolences of the government were given to the mission and were printed in the Somali and Italian newspapers. The missionaries also reported that the populace is continuing to show deep sympathies.

The Somali government further stated that they are happy for the mission to continue work and inquired as to what the future plans would be.

The Somali ambassador in Washington, D. C., in an interview with Mission Board Secretary Kraybill and Orie O. Miller, expressed the same sympathetic attitude and condolence as his government had in Mogadiscio.

Service in Ontario

A memorial service was held Wednesday, July 25, at the Wideman Mennonite Church, Markham, Ont., home community of the Grove family. Glen Brubacher, John Hess, Emerson McDowell and Newton Gingerich of Ontario participated in the services.

Eastern Mission Board President H. Raymond Charles and Secretary Kraybill represented the board at the service. President Symmonds of the Toronto Bible College, from which Missionary Grove graduated, and E. J. Swalm, who was associated with Niagara Christian College, which Grove attended, also took part in the service.

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