May 15, 2017
Paul Grobe is remembered as industry pioneer and builder of Landscape Ontario
Paul Grobe is known by his family, friends and industry members as a mentor, hard working, and a personable individual who people enjoyed being around. He was also someone who strived to make his company a great success, and was very active in Landscape Ontario.
In 1964, Paul joined the family nursery business in Kitchener which was begun by his father George and brother Peter to help address the ever-increasing demand. Just two years later, the trio opened Grobe Nursery & Garden Centre near the village of Breslau, just outside of Kitchener.
The business was truly a family affair with the entire Grobe family taking part including Geoge’s wife Genevieve along with Paul and Peter’s wives.
As part of his commitment to Landscape Ontario, Paul along with fellow pioneer John Wright, left the Toronto Chapter to assist a struggling Hamilton Chapter, now known as Golden Horseshoe Chapter. From there, they moved to found the Waterloo Chapter in the late 1970s which has become a great success in the area.
Up until his retirement in 2007, Paul was the secretary and treasurer of Grobe Nursery. He also managed the maintenance division. He earned numerous Landscape Ontario recognitions throughout his career, including a special citation in 1985, “for dedicated service to Landscape Ontario.”
Steve Snider, Paul’s son-in-law and owner of Snider Turf and Landscape Care in Kitchener, says, “Paul was always one to encourage people to be their best, and never put off until tomorrow that which could be completed today.”
Paul’s love for people and his ability to communicate were combined with is ability to think outside the box. “His true passion was to make everyone around him better by sharing his knowledge,” says Snider. Paul and his brother Peter were instrumental in starting Grobe's Christmas Tree Country back in 1972. It began after a poor winter in the snow plowing business and the two brothers made the decision to start selling fresh cut Christmas trees. It evolved into a Christmas traditions for many, where customers come and sip a hot chocolate while they shop for poinsettia, select a tree and purchase Christmas-themed products from around the world.
The brothers expanded the business into the late 80s and early 90s with a huge selection of high quality of plant material that provided a must-visit place for gardeners. Under Paul’s direction the maintenance division grew bringing in a steady cash flow and many satisfied clients. This was built on Paul’s determination to always look after problems immediately because he knew satisfied customers are your best advertising.
In 2007, Paul retired to his home in Waterloo enjoying time at his cottage in Wasaga Beach as well time spent at his residence in Florida. In his retirement, he enjoyed family life while still keeping a pulse on the industry along with mentoring his friends within the industry.
Paul’s daughter, Brenda has a strong memory growing up related to her father’s passion for landscaping. “We knew it was spring with the smell of cocoa beans that were spread as mulch on the gardens of their home.” He passed at the age of 75 on February 17, 2017, after a courageous three-year battle with leukemia. The funeral service was St. Michaels Church in Waterloo and is buried at Memory Gardens in Breslau, near Grobe Nursery - a testament to his green thumb.
He was a loving husband and best friend of Maryanne (nee Isley) for almost 54 years. He is sadly missed by his children William Grobe and Tracy Anne Tait, Brenda and Steve Snider, JoAnne Grobe, Michael and Lindsay Frankland-Grobe. His proud grandchildren are Kevin, Jocelyn, Jacob, Liam and Joshua. He is survived by his brother, Peter and also survived by his brothers and sisters-in-law George and Linda Isley and John and Jackie Isley. He was predeceased by his parents George and Genevieve Grobe (nee) Huber.