Jack Richard Groover M.D.
April 9, 1941 – October 31, 2019
A titan in the Jacksonville world of medicine has left this earth. Jack Richard Groover, MD, FCAP, died on October 31, 2019, at age 78. Born in Quitman, GA and a second generation physician, Dr. Jack Groover followed in the enormous footsteps of his father, Dr. Marshall Groover, when he joined the medical staff at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville in the mid-‘70s. While he was affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, it was at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and its parent, Baptist Health, where his mark was left so indelibly. Today, the practice of gastroenterology and governance at the Board of Directors level continue to feel the impact of his influence and wisdom. Dr. Groover’s initial medical degree was from the University of Maryland Medical School. Following his residency and two fellowships in gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Miami Medical School, he served as head of the Department of Medicine and Chief of Gastroenterology at the U.S. Army Hospital in Fort Campbell, KY. After his time in the Army, he focused on a career of serving others and providing quality health care, which he did for more than 50 years, earning the reputation as one of the best diagnosticians in the area. He co-founded and was president and CEO of the Borland-Groover Clinic, the Jacksonville Center for Endoscopy, and Jacksonville Anesthesia Providers. He held the position of chief of gastroenterology for the Jacksonville Hospitals Education Program (JHEP), and for University Hospital of Jacksonville (now the University of Florida College of Health in Jacksonville), where he founded the first fellowship program in gastroenterology. He was Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and in Gastroenterology, and was Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He was a well-published author, widely published in professional journals such as the Southern Medical Journal and The American Journal of Digestive Diseases, and a frequent, very popular, presenter at meetings. He was a member of a number of professional associations, including the American Gastroenterological Association and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the American Medical Association, the Florida Medical Association, the Duval County Medical Society, the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Laser Surgery and Medicine. Dr. Groover served on a number of boards of directors, including most notably Baptist Health. He chaired the Clinical Quality and Technology Committee at Baptist Health, and chaired both the United Healthcare Physicians Advisory Board and the Blue Cross-Blue Shield Physician Advisory Board. From the very beginning of his medical career, Dr. Groover made it his life’s work to provide the best possible care for his patients and to serve as best he could in leadership roles to ensure that the course of health care was in the best interest of those receiving it. He was a subtle but ardent force of nature, a formidable advocate for his beliefs. To that end, he served for 23 years on the Baptist Health Board of Directors and the Board of Managers of Baptist Physician Partners. He supported the growth of the Baptist Primary Care Network. In his various medical staff leadership roles at Baptist Health, he was medical staff president, chairman of the Department of Medicine, chairman of the Institutional Review Committee, and on the Physician Hospital Organization Task Force. He was also a member of the medical staff of both Baptist Beaches and Baptist South. Dr. Groover was tireless in his advocacy for improving the quality and safety of patient care health care to be more accessible in our community. Quietly but capably, he managed to transform the medical landscape in the city he served for half a century. “Like his father, he could just walk into a room without saying a word, and command respect,” said William Mason, president emeritus and CEO of Baptist Health, where the two first met in the late 1970s. Former president and CEO of Baptist Health Hugh Greene said, “He was the most effective physician executive I've ever met in my life. Nurses loved and respected him, patients adored him.” Dr. Groover made an impact wherever he served during the amazing path of his career. In addition to his great service at Baptist Health, he was chief of gastroenterology at JHEP and at St. Luke’s Hospital in the early ‘90s, and he was a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Florida, where he educated other physicians. In 1996, Dr. Groover served as President and CEO of the Baptist/St. Vincent’s Integrated Delivery Organization, Mission Health, when the two health care institutions joined forces. For three years he served in this role, providing key leadership for the unique union. During that same time, he had a vision of creating a health care clinic in the Jacksonville community that focused on the field of digestive diseases. Combining physicians specializing in gastroenterology, colorectal surgery, hepatology, pathology, radiology, anesthesia and allergy, he led the formation of the Borland-Groover Clinic in 1995, and served as its president and CEO. His innovative and multidisciplinary approach gave to patients access to cutting edge, state-of-the-art technology, and a team of experts, all under one roof. Today, the Borland-Groover Clinic on Belfort Road continues to thrive with more than 60 physician specialists providing care in multiple locations up and down Florida’s east coast, from Fernandina Beach in the north, to Boynton Beach in the south. The force of Dr. Groover’s passion continues to make a lasting impact on patient care, not only in the Jacksonville community but in the state. He has made comprehensive gastrointestinal services more readily accessible to patients, and he has strongly influenced and advocated for the private practice of medicine in the state of Florida. His range of accomplishments during the scope of his 50-year career left an indelible mark on the way health care is provided, positively impacting the lives of many patients throughout the state and over the years. He was and is, even in death, a role model to other physicians who strive to provide the best possible care for people in our community. Dr. Groover’s wife, Zena, calls him a “true Renaissance man – he was a musician, writer, poet, dreamer and visionary, and above all, a physician’s physician, my beloved husband and partner.” Dr. Groover, Zena, and his father, often had musical Sunday afternoons, with Zena on the piano, the elder Dr. Groover on the violin, and Jack struggling on the saxophone. The Groovers loved to travel, and took many trips all over the world with friends, cruising, hiking, parasailing, tasting the cultures of the world, enjoying other traditions and foods with gusto. Jack had a huge email list to whom he sent pictures and commentary of their many trips. The lucky recipients traveled vicariously with the Groovers, and loved his photos and comments because of their insight, dry wit, and keen social acumen. He was a perceptive observer of humanity. He loved his lake house, loved walking his dogs through the surrounding woods, and hanging out with Zena and his children and grandchildren.
Dr. Groover was predeceased by his father, Marshall Groover, M.D., his mother Irene Groover, his step-mother Kathryn Groover, and his daughter, Judy Groover. He is survived by his dearly loved wife Zena, his daughter Vivian Mahoney (Mark), his step-son Sean Geiger (Jennifer), his grandchildren, Ryan Mahoney (Brittany) and Sarah Handy (Brian), and his great-grandchildren Kylie and Peyton Mahoney and Addison and Brady Handy.
If anyone wishes to remember Dr. Groover, he and the family would love for tangible remembrances to go to the ASPCA (give online at aspca.org) or to the Jacksonville Humane Society, 8464 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32216 (give online at jaxhumane.org).
A celebration of Dr. Groover’s remarkable, memorable, extraordinary life will be held on Tuesday, November 5, at 3 p.m. at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church, 4001 Hendricks Avenue, with Rev. Dr. Kyle Reese officiating. A reception following the service will be held in HAB’s Fellowship Hall.
Please Sign the guestbook at www.hardagegiddensoaklawnchapel.com HARDAGE-GIDDENS, THE OAKLAWN CHAPEL, 4801 San Jose Blvd is serving the family
- Memorial Service Tuesday, November 5, 2019
- Reception Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Jack Richard Groover M.D.
November 6, 2019
Dr Groover will be remembered with love. He took care of my mother and my sister both who had multiple medical problems. But the biggest memory is that Dr Groover was my husbands intern/resident at Jackson Memorial in Miami Fl. My husband remained connected when they both located their practices in Jacksonville. Unfortunately my husband Dr Robert Miller passed away July 1st of this year But i am hoping they will be connecting again in the next life
November 5, 2019
I was fortunate to have Dr. Groover in my life for over 30 years. He was a mentor, friend, and someone I could always count on when I needed direction. I will miss him and feel blessed to have known him. My thoughts and prayers are with Zena and his entire family.
Love and prayers,
W. Alan & Joan L Harmon
November 5, 2019
Joan & I moved to town in July of 1981. I was joining the Clinic for Digestive Diseases (Jim Borland, Jr.’s Group). Jack was the founder of Digestive Disease Associates. While we were initially competitors, Jack was always a gentleman and a scholar. He ran a monthly “Gut Club” and served as its moderator. He usually would ask the most challenging question at the end of every Physician’s presentation. Our groups merged in the 1990’s and I got to work with Jack as a board member for the new Borland-Groover Clinic and in building the new home office on Belford and the two Jacksonville Centers for Endoscopy. His business savvy was remarkable. An accountant once told me that in his 30 + years as a CPA, he had never seen a smarter physician-businessman. And that only a few business executives were his equal.
His love for Zena exceeded his passion for all of his other interests. He was smitten by her when she first arrived as the new Endoscopy Nurse at St. Luke’s on 8th Street. She “completed him” and he enjoyed the happiest days of his life as her husband. His second love was his DAWGS. We think Jack had red and black flowing in his veins!
Jacksonville has lost a giant. A unique talent. A master of so many fields. A mentor and supporter of so many.
We will miss Jack Groover. Rest in Peace
Mick & Jo Dale
November 4, 2019
I have known and been a friend of Dr. Grover ( and Zena ) for over 35 years and worked with Dr. Grover for over 25 years. I will always remember his work ethics and the kindness he showed to patients and especially to me. He will be missed.
November 4, 2019
I worked for Dr Groover for almost 6 years and I feel so lucky that I got to know him. He was an amazing and generous boss. He will be missed.
November 4, 2019
I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Groover for many years. He was a wonderful man, physician and mentor. I am honored to have had the opportunity to learn from him on so many levels. He was always there to give advice in all aspects of life. I am very sorry at the loss of a wonderful man but I am grateful for all the lives he touched (including mine).
November 3, 2019
Jack saved my life in 1997. What more can I say? I loved the man. Julie Mason