Grover Woodrow Asmus was born in North Bergen, NJ, to Mr. and Mrs. Grover Ernst Asmus. He attended secondary schools in North Bergen, and completed his final year at Randolph-Macon Academy, graduating in 1942. He attended Drew University for a year and then received a congressional appointment to West Point to join the Class of 1946.
At the Military Academy, Grover quickly became involved in myriad activities. He was an academic coach, member of the Color Line, Debate Society, Dance Band, Pointer staff, and the Howitzer staff. He lettered as a Corps Squad gymnast and was a B-Squad trackman. Grover had a broad range of interests, a multi-talented aptitude, and a caring personality; his attributes all foretold the varied opportunities and successes he would enjoy in his life.
Commissioned in the Infantry, Grover attended the Officers Basic Course in 1946–47. Following surgery for a hearing loss, he transferred to the Quartermaster Corps and was sent to Camp Lee, VA, to complete the Basic Course. In 1948, he was assigned to the Quartermaster Section, Headquarters, Eighth Army, Yokohama, Japan. He volunteered for duty in Korea, and in early September of 1950, he joined the 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Division, serving as an Infantry platoon leader and company commander. For this duty, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Combat Infantryman Badge. When the replacement stream recovered from the shortage of company-grade infantrymen, Grover was reassigned to the 8051st Quartermaster Service Company. He remained in Korea until the summer of 1951.
In 1952, Grover earned his master’s degree in petroleum sciences from the University of Pittsburgh. He spent two years as an instructor at the Quartermaster Center, Ft. Lee, VA; graduated from the Advanced Course in May 1955, and then completed airborne training at Ft. Benning, GA.
In December of 1955, Grover was assigned to U.S. Army-Europe as chief, Loss Control Branch, and later as plans officer, Quartermaster Petroleum Distribution Command in Fontainebleau, France. In September of 1957, he was appointed aide to GEN Williston B. Palmer, deputy USCINCEUR, at Camp de Loges near Versailles. Upon GEN Palmer's retirement in 1959, Grover attended Command & General Staff College and returned to France in July of 1960, serving as staff officer, J-4, Headquarters U.S. European Command, until December of 1963. He always remembered his years in France. He loved the countryside and admired the French people. He made lifelong friendships, and he returned many times.
Grover next served as commander, 64th Quartermaster Battalion Petroleum Operations, Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. From September 1964 to May of 1966, he was assigned to the Materiel Command Field Office in New York City as an inspector general and then as deputy chief of the QM Advisory Division (ARVN), J-4 for Headquarters, MAC-V. Next, he was chief advisor to RVNs JGS DCSLOG until July 1968. He received two Legions of Merit and was twice decorated by the Vietnamese.
In 1968, he was assigned to DA as the chief, Commodities Manager Office, ODCS for Logistics, serving until January, 1970. He was subsequently assigned as special assistant to the director of International Logistics, serving until May, 1970, and received two successive awards of the Legion of Merit.
In early 1970, Grover became senior aide to GEN Omar Bradley, in Los Angeles as an advisor to the award-winning movie Patton. In 1972, Grover retired at Ft. MacArthur, CA.
In the 1970s, he worked with an international consortium of oil companies, Alyeska, to complete the Alaskan Pipeline. In charge of construction support, he managed the only phase of the project that was completed on-time and under budget. When the pipeline was completed, he returned to southern California and established his own consulting company, providing management services and logistics assistance to companies engaged in petroleum engineering and construction projects worldwide.
Grover also continued promoting Franco-American relations. He served two terms as president of the West Point Society of Los Angeles and was a member of the Randolph-Macon Advisory Council. He also established and served on the board of directors of the Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts, founded in memory of his late wife to provide scholarships and educational opportunities to promising young artists.
On 11 Oct 2003, Grover died at his home in Palm Desert, CA. A memorial service was held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, and on 14 May 2004 he was buried in the West Point cemetery. The funeral was held at the Cadet Chapel, followed by a graveside ceremony. The gratitude demonstrated by the Army for Grover’s service left a moving and lasting impression with his family.
Grover is survived by his wife, Louise Currie Good Asmus of Beverly Hills, CA (an interior designer of international renown, who married Grover in 2002); a son, Grover Ernst Asmus of Mobile, AL, and a daughter, Christina Asmus Abell of Peachtree City, GA; (a third child, Kinion Lynne Asmus, died in Petersburg, VA in 1955); five grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren. He was married three times previously: first, to Sallie Mae Holman from 1947 to 1955, which ended in divorce; second, to screen and television actress Donna Reed, from 1974 until her death in 1986; and third to Elizabeth Heckscher Carey, from 1991 until her death in 1998.
Grover had a penchant for entertaining friends with stories about his life experiences. He is remembered by classmates, friends, and family as a true Francophile, with a hearty laugh and a warm heart. Bob Eichenberg echoed the feelings of so many of his classmates and friends, that Grover was the ultimate gentleman and bon vivant, who was proud of his service as aide-de-camp to “nine stars” (Generals Palmer and Bradley) and most proud of his service to his country.
- Class of 1946
- MG (R) and Mrs. George S. Patton '46