Lana (Lawver) Groombridge passed away September 9, 2019 after an eight-year battle with cancer. Lana was born August 29, 1945 in Huntington, Indiana. She is survived by her husband, Graham; her children Erin (Matt) Eberly of Fishers and Greg (Brooke Smith fiancé) Groombridge of Fort Wayne; her grandchildren, Kaine and Tatum Eberly; and her sister, Ann Lawver of Coralville, IA. She was preceded in death by her father and her mother, Henry and Margie Lawver of Huntington.
Raised on a dairy farm in Lancaster Township, Lana was a 10-year member of 4-H and was very active in the Salamonie Church of the Brethren youth group. She was a camp counselor for many summers at Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, IN and at Camp Dick Runyan in N. Webster, IN. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Manchester College (now University) in physical education prior to teaching one year at Lane Junior High in Ft. Wayne. She was very service oriented and joined the Peace Corps in 1967 teaching and coaching for three years in Western Samoa while assisting in curriculum development. While serving her third year she met her future husband, Graham, who was a Volunteer Service Abroad accountant from New Zealand. They corresponded for two years while Lana completed her Master’s Degree from Indiana University in recreation. They married in 1972 and returned to live in New Zealand for four years where she taught and coached at Avondale College in Auckland. In 1976 they returned to the U.S. where Lana began a teaching and coaching career at Manchester University. As Women’s Athletic Director she transitioned the women’s extramural sports program to an intercollegiate program and expanded the number of sports offered for women. She served on state athletic committees to begin a collegiate women’s athletic conference. She began her coaching career in volleyball and basketball but later became an assistant in track and field. Lana was inducted into the Manchester University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. She retired from Manchester College in 2008.
After receiving her doctorate from Ball State University, she became a full professor and chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences where she focused on teacher preparation, mentoring new staff to be better teachers, and guiding students to get involved in professional organizations. She was proud to have had five of her staff members complete their doctorates before moving to other universities. Lana was very involved in her state physical education association where she served in many positions, included students in her yearly state presentations, and received numerous awards including the Leadership Award in 2002; the Honor Award in 2004; and the Legacy Award in 2009, which is the highest honor awarded by the State Association.
Her passions included music (she sang in the Manchester Church of the Brethren choir), gardening, tennis, cooking and quilting. Lana liked to stay busy so she started a retirement business, Dr. Lana’s Wellness for the Home, in which she cleaned houses, prepped them for sale, painted, and gardened for many clients. Some would call her a workaholic but she was most happy doing odd jobs for other people who needed assistance.
As busy as she was with these activities, her family was a major joy and priority. She loved spending time with her children, grandchildren and extended family in both the US and New Zealand.
Friends and family may call Saturday, September 14, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Manchester Church of the Brethren, 1306 Beckley Street, North Manchester, Indiana with funeral service beginning at the conclusion of calling. Following the service, there will be visitation. Pastor Karen Eberly will officiate the service.
In lieu of flowers, please leave memorials to:
Manchester Church of the Brethren Refugee Support Fund, 1306 Beckley Street, North Manchester, Indiana
Camp Alexander Mack, P.O. Box 158, Milford, Indiana 46542
Sierra Club, 2101 Webster St Suite 1300, Oakland, California 94612
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