Jesse B. Grove III
1942 - 2019
Jesse B. “Barry” Grove, III, died on Saturday, August 10, 2019 at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Virginia of complications of COPD and lung cancer.
Born on February 10, 1942 in Richmond, Virginia, Barry was the son of the late Jesse B. Grove, Jr. and Jacqueline Beal Grove. He grew up in Vienna, Virginia, where he attended local public schools. He was a graduate of Washington & Lee College and the University of Virginia Law School.
Barry moved his young family to San Francisco and started his legal career with Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges immediately after law school. He specialized in construction law, and over his career became a well-known and respected leader in that field, handling cases ranging from the collapse of the ceiling of the San Jose Theater to the building of the Channel Tunnel from London to Paris.
He was a founding Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers, serving as its President in 2003. He was a member of the American Bar Association, Litigation Section and Construction Law Committee, speaker at numerous construction law seminars and panels, and author of numerous articles in construction law journals.
After retiring from the active practice of law in 2006, Barry and his wife, Leanne moved to his ancestral village of Scottsville, Virginia. There he continued in the legal field by serving as an arbitrator in construction cases both domestic and international. As recently as this May, he served on an arbitration panel for two weeks in Santiago, Chile.
Barry served as Mayor of Scottsville for three terms, overseeing the completion of the town’s Streetscape Project. He also served on the Architectural Review Board, other town committees, and on the Board of the Scottsville Museum. He attended Scottsville Presbyterian Church and was grateful for the support from the congregation.
In addition to his parents, Barry was preceded in death by his son, Christian Grove.
He is survived by his loving and beloved wife of 30 years: Leanne; by his sons: Barry Grove (Denise), Ted Grove (Toni), and Vanya Grove; his daughter: Kate Grove Bucsi (Ryan); his sister: Sally Chapin (Chuck); three grandchildren: Jesse, Julia, and Sofia; his former wife and mother of three of his children: Norah Elliot Crawford; as well as cousins and many friends.
The family would like to thank nurses Susi and Emily and all the staff and wonderful doctors in the ER and the MICU at UVA Medical Center for their skilled and compassionate care, as well as his long-time personal physician, Richard K. Brantley, with whom he had a rare rapport.
A memorial service will be conducted at 3:00 pm, Friday, August 16, 2019 at Thacker Brothers Scottsville Funeral Home by the Reverend Gordon Lindsey. The family will receive visitors one hour prior to the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Scottsville Museum, P. O. Box 101, Scottsville, VA 24590.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 13, 2019
Dear Leanne: On August 11, I sent an email to the ACCL List Serve, advising the Fellows of Barry’s passing. Throughout that day and the days that followed, Fellows from across the country responded with varying degrees of explication of their respect and fondness for Barry. This document is a compilation of those remarks, in the order they were received, beginning with my note.
All: Founding Fellow, Past President and long-time friend of the project, Barry Grove passed away early yesterday morning of complications of COPD and lung cancer.
Barry was a construction lawyer’s construction lawyer. Well respected and well loved by his colleagues, his clients, and his adversaries, alike, he was a force of nature. I knew of Barry long before I first met him, and was thrilled when, along with John Clark, Rob Thum, John Ralls and a couple of others, I joined Barry at Thelen in the mid 90’s. I never actually worked on anything with Barry until we were retained to advise the Panama Canal Authority as they decided how to structure the contract packages for the new sets of locks. Working with Barry was a treat – he was curious about every detail of the project, and instinctively knew which of my ideas were good and which were not so good. To say that the client respected him is a huge understatement – Barry’s word was gospel.
Before Barry left San Francisco for Thelen’s New York office, he would regularly hold court on Friday evenings at Scott’s – a bar in the Embarcadero Center. Those affairs were not to be missed. Then, upon moving to NY, he had a pool table installed in the Thelen office, which took the place of Scott’s for him on NY Friday afternoons. I recall several young lawyers who thought themselves to be good players being humbled at the feet of Brother Grove.
Barry loved this College and everything it stands for – particularly the collegiality and “Friend of the College” mantra. He will be missed.
So very sad to hear of this.
This is very sad. Barry was a first year associate at Thelen, Marrin when I was a summer associate after my second year of law school. He was the “experienced” attorney I went to for all my questions: professional and otherwise. When I started practicing, he was the lead attorney for the main defendant in a case where I was hired to represent what later became CH2M/Hill. We took depositions five to seven days a week for months and my respect for Barry grew in leaps and bounds. We were opposite each other in several cases involving Taliesin which presented complex construction, political and ethical issues. Barry approached those issues with skill and professionalism which I have used as examples all my life as a lawyer. He nominated me for the College, prepared a roast worthy of Don Rickles to recount my “accomplishments” and always made me feel an important of the construction bar. Leanne and I went to high school together and reconnecting with her through Barry was an added plus. I will miss him greatly.
Barry’s passing early in the morning yesterday is a deep and personal loss for his family, the college, the bar, and the larger community he affected, and for me. His smile and his memory will be with me and, I am sure, the many of you who knew him well.
So very sad to hear this. He was a fabulous lawyer, leader, and wise neutral, as well as a wonderful friend and mentor to so many. A great loss for our college indeed.
We have lost a Giant. Barry was much loved, and he will be sorely missed.
Barry was always at the very top of my and my colleagues’ list of potential neutrals as he was fair and diligent and always understood and reconciled the most complex of fact and legal issues. A great loss.
This is very sad. Barry was a fun and fascinating guy. He could regale you with esoteric and charming facts about whatever locale you were in whether it was San Antonio, Southern California, Australia or Hong Kong. He was a man of many interests and excelled at all of them!
This is truly sad. I enjoyed all of my time with Barry — as a College Fellow and serving together as neutrals. A solid man in every respect.
Lost a great one. That’s how I have thought of him for 40 years. Nobody better.
This is really sad. Linda is in a music club with Leanne and we would see them at various functions around Charlottesville.
So sorry. Barry was a great attorney.
Mabry, very well said. I traveled a lot of miles with Barry and considered him to be a dear friend and mentor. He was a star of the college and the bar who was always willing to take the time to discuss and advise. This one hits hard.
I knew Barry Grove only through the College, but that relationship was an example of the benefit of being a fellow. I know first hand that he was the epitome of what it meant to be welcoming and collegial to a new member. I have numerous memories of charming moments visiting with him. He was kind and had the warmest smile. I always looked forward to seeing him. I will miss him, as I know so many others will. This year we have lost very special members of the college. We must make every meeting count as they afford precious opportunities for fellowship with each other. Hugs to all of his family and friends at such a sad time.
This is indeed a very sad loss for everybody. I had the good fortune to have known Barry for decades and to have benefited greatly from his thoughtful opinions and wise experience, as well as his geniality, generosity and ready accessibility. In the international sphere he made seminal contributions to thinking on many subjects, notably on risk on his 1998 report to the Hong Kong Government. He will be much missed. As Jim says, he was a giant.
A loss indeed. An example of the best of our profession.
Ty Laurie and I were currently on a panel with Barry, and we spoke on the phone a couple of weeks ago. He mentioned a knee problem and some other health issues that were bothering him, but I had no idea that things were this serious. Barry was a great lawyer and friend and a larger-than-life character. Those who knew him well will miss him dearly, and those who didn’t have really missed out.
I am very deeply saddened by Barry’s passing. His office was very close to mine for many years, and we developed a close relationship. He was brilliant and practical, and very kind and outreaching in his professional and personal life. I often sought the advice of this giant in character and knowledge.
We have lost a distinguished construction arbitrator and a gentleman of great gravitas. I will never forget his wonderful speech in Hong Kong where he maintained the thesis that an arbitrator should disregard all construction
Barry was an outstanding construction lawyer and Distinguished ADR Neutral. His early contributions to founding the ACCL, its programs and purpose are enjoyed by all of us today. He will be greatly missed.
I always thought of Barry as a standard setter for achievement in the construction bar. When someone would approach me about the requirements for admission to the College, I would often send them a copy of Barry’s bio, along with a note saying this is what the Bylaws mean when they refer to “outstanding lawyers who are distinguished for their skill, experience and high standards of professional and ethical conduct”. Usually, they did not follow up. I think we all knew that we should be realistic about the demographics of our membership, knowing that times would come when we would lose the best of the best. But, when it happens like in this past year, it really hurts.
I was a neutral for him on several occasions. And he taught me a lot each time with his no nonsense, straight forward, and honest approach. But he had the upper hand before he started with his unforgettable deep voice, smile, and presence that controlled the room. His passing is a real loss.
Indeed a great loss. Barry was one of the very, very best.
I read John’s and then and Adrian’s acknowledgements of who Barry Grove was and the many similar descriptions of how any of us who knew him and spent time with him felt around him. Barry Grove was a “presence”. Barry Grove was the essence of competence while being approachable at the same time. He was always willing to share his knowledge and experience if he was asked to do so. I had the pleasure of being in the College leadership as he went from being an officer, to being our President and sharing the Past President’s breakfasts and photos. He always was on time for the photos and we knew how pleased he was to be there. The medallion fit him very well.
John Hinchey and Patricia Thompson expressed the loss of Barry very well while also reminding us how important shaking hands and sharing time together at our Annual Meetings really is.
Let me add a special touch from a French lawyer; in addition to his open and friendly nature, Barry has always shown a keen interest in Napoleonic civil laws relating to construction matters with a genuine spirit of cross-fertilization for better achieving projects in time and within budget; indeed a great loss.
Barry Grove’s death reminds all of us of the excellence of our membership and in particular the senior group who we have lost recently. In the past couple of years I had the occasion to call Barry for advice and was greeted with detailed assistance which was very useful. This generous help to others has been recognized by ACCL members as one of the key characteristics of Barry’s enormous contribution. It is an example to all of us worthy of being remembered and emulated.
After reading all the emails expressing personal thoughts on Barry’s life, career and passing, it’s clear he was a giant in our profession and a credit to the College.
I had the pleasure of serving with Barry on three ADR matters, although none of them proceeded to conclusion. (We … and Alan H … were in an Enron-related arbitration hearing the day J. Skilling resigned….) We also got to know each other better while attending a couple Astros games.
I did not know Barry as well as other Fellows but was impressed by his stature, judgment and caring personality. We shall miss seeing him at future annual meetings.
There are two things I will miss a lot — his ability to think laterally, and his great sense of fun.
While browsing the web after learning of his death. looking at entries about him, I came across an example of his thinking laterally: it’s an old letter sitting alone on the web with no clue of what ensued after the letter was sent (as it presumably was); but I suspect some of the ACCL Fellows listed in the letter do. I’ve attached the letter to this email.
As for his sense of fun, I smile as I attempt to recount his role in a mock dispute board hearing staged at a conference some years ago. The stage had no theatrical set, just a large conference table and chairs, and a Cast of Characters representing a 3 person dispute board, plus single representatives of each of 3 other Characters — the Employer, the Engineer, and the Contractor.
The dispute board members, the Engineer and the Employer were dressed as you might expect at a Site meeting: no suits, no ties, simple construction Site clothing. They were seated and awaiting the arrival of the Contractor. There was no prepared script, and all of the Cast were crazy enough to have decided to ad lib, or “improv” the show, along lines which had been agreed earlier.
Enter stage left, Barry — wearing cowboy boots, blue jeans, a plain red long-sleeved shirt with fake pearl snaps for buttons including those on the cuffs and the shirt pockets’ flaps, and sporting a high crown Stetson cowboy hat!
Plunking himself down on a chair which he tilted back to enable him to put the heels of his boots on the conference table, he lifted slightly the front of the brim of his Stetson and said in his best Southern accent “My name is Tex, and I’m here to get my damned claims settled! And I mean TODAY!”
When the audience paused in its laughter, he carried on, and the fun began.
“Tex” was the talk of the rest of the conference, and definitely the “Star” of the show — he had fun, and he gave fun to all.
Gordon, when thinking back on the miles I travelled with Barry I thought about the effort to have project counsel whose job it was to resolve matters as set forth in the letter. I did not have the letter and sure appreciate you finding and sending. I worked extensively with Barry on this concept and we proposed to several but alas so far as I know went nowhere. However a good idea whose time may one day come. Barry was a practical visionary who sought to make the construction process better.
Barry Grove is one of those relatively few “big names” in our business I can recall hearing when I first became a construction lawyer and continued to hear over the past 30+ years. In recent years I had a number of conversations with him relating to the selection of arbitrators for various ICC arbitration matters. He was always accommodating, offered great insight, and never over-sold himself for the job. He served as an arbitrator in one matter for me and I got to see first-hand his very professional and effective command of a room and a process. Those experiences aside, I will most remember sitting with him at breakfast one morning at a recent College annual meeting listening to him describe his experiences as mayor of Scottsville with that blend of passion and humor that defined him. I will miss him.
For this one Fellow, Barry was more than a great lawyer: from the time I joined Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges in 1983 until I started with Fluor Corporation in 2000, J. Barry Grove was the finest teacher, mentor, advisor and friend. Only once did I not take his advice: I could not get my family enthusiastic about a move to New York when he promoted that TMJB office along with Jerry Reiss. Barry will be missed but he will stay alive in memory.
I didn’t get to meet Barry until 1999, but then was lucky enough to be his law partner at Thelen for 6 years. At partner get-togethers, he didn’t talk much, but would from time to time growl out something in that laconic way of his – either very funny or when more serious, invariably of interest.
I have long thought of him as the best of the best. I once talked to an arbitrator who had heard one of the last cases Barry tried as an advocate. He said that the thing that most impressed him about Barry was that he stayed focused all the way through the process on the big issues that mattered, and didn’t sweat the rest. Barry had confidence in his judgment that the other issues would make no difference, and the arbitrator agreed that he had been exactly right. Few among us have such talent and self-assurance. I am really going to miss him.
All of these wonderful tributes to Barry confirm my too short experiences with Barry. He was the lawyer you want to be, and he was a very, very funny guy. God Bless Barry and his family.
Barry to me was a giant of a construction lawyer and a person. In many ways, he was a mentor to me as a lawyer and a neutral. I have many fond memories of talking to him about cases and one on one conversations (usually on Friday evening) at ACCL meetings. I will miss him and our future meetings to me will not be the same. He was, simply, the best.
Diane and I are thinking of you and your family.
The sharp intellect, the quick wit, the deep, calming voice – Barry will be sorely missed. I was privileged to work on a multi-week ICC arbitration in London with Barry. He set the standard against which I measure all other arbitrators.
After the arbitration, Barry took the time to remain connected and always expressed interest in my career path. His kindness stood above his many other marvelous qualities.
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