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Cincinnati Enquirer: Roger Grooms, critic, umpire | Ohio Valley Basketball Officials Association | Cincinnati Ohio

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Cincinnati Enquirer: Roger Grooms, critic, umpire

Posted by | April 29, 2006 .

April 29, 2006

Roger Grooms, critic, umpire

By Allen Howard
Enquirer staff writer

Roger Grooms personified the Renaissance man as a teacher, coach, film and theater critic, umpire, referee, actor and director.

Mr. Grooms died Thursday at Christ Hospital of complications from bypass surgery. A resident of Anderson Township, he was 69.

“He will be thoroughly missed by the theatrical community,” said Tom McElfresh, a former Enquirer theater and film critic. “He was a multitalented man. I knew him as an actor, director and critic. He wrote reviews for local theaters and he was extremely good at it.”

Mr. Grooms was born in Seaman, Ohio. He received his bachelor’s degree in education from Wilmington College in 1957.

Of all his talents, his wife, Patricia, said she thinks Mr. Grooms might have loved umpiring baseball games the most. “He started umpiring at age 12,” she said.

Mr. Grooms had the distinction of calling Johnny Bench out at home plate on Reds’ Opening Day in 1981. He was a replacement umpire when the regular umpires were on strike.

“He umpired, coached and refereed in basketball, baseball and football. He was very proud of his umpiring,” his wife said.

Mr. Grooms taught at Anderson High School from 1957 until his death. He taught courses in humanities, speech, English and history. He also taught at Miami Valley Christian Academy this school year.

Mr. Grooms won a national teacher of the year award in 1987. He was one of 10 teachers to receive the award in Washington, D.C. He is listed in the 2005-06 Best Teachers in the United States.

He wrote reviews on film, theater, books and opera from 1968 to 1992. He was entertainment critic for WKRC-TV (Channel 12) 1980-89 and also 1996-2002.

He was movie host and film critic for WXIX-TV (Channel 19) from 1989 to 1993, and film critic with Nick Clooney at WSAI-AM in 2000-02. He also did book reviews on PM-Plus at WGUC-FM from 1993 to 1997.

Mr. Grooms directed more than 250 shows at the high school, community and university levels. He was a member of the National Association of Speech Teachers and was president of the Ohio Valley Officials Association, 1968 and 1973.

Mr. Grooms is also survived by a daughter, Shannon Altshuller of Clifton; four sons; Ken Grooms of Seattle, Scott Straley and Christopher Straley, both of Anderson Township, and Todd Straley, of Terrace Park; a sister, Lea Jane McClellan, Seaman, Ohio; and seven grandchildren.

Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at T.P. White and Sons Funeral Home, 2050 Beechmont Ave., Mount Washington.

A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. May 9 in the Anderson High School Auditorium.

Memorials can be sent to the Roger Grooms Theatrical Scholarship, c/o Anderson High School. 7560 Forest Road, Cincinnati, OH 45255.

Source:  http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20060429/NEWS0104/604290391/Roger-Grooms-critic-umpire&template=artsemantics&server=MOC-WN0296