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A native of St. Ansgar, Iowa, Joseph Groth’s great-grandfather was part of the group of Norwegians that founded it in 1854. As a boy, he trapped beaver and muskrats, caught catfish, hunted, and gathered goose berries and choke cherries on the Groth homestead on the Cedar River north of St. Ansgar.
Groth's interest in Lewis & Clark began as a pre-teenager when he accompanied his parents on a motor trip towing an Airstream trailer that traced their Corps of Discovery route from a paternal great-aunt's farm near Bismarck, North Dakota, to a maternal great-aunt's farm in Moscow, Idaho, and on to the Pacific ocean.
As a teen-ager, Groth spent several summer's canoeing in the Quetico Lake wilderness area of the Canadian border north of Ely, Minnesota. He was a starting halfback on the St, Ansgar High School football team that was undefeated his senior year.
Like Lewis & Clark, Groth also was a Captain. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps shortly after graduating from high school, and received a direct promotion from sergeant to second lieutenant. He was a captain when he left active service as an Intelligence Officer with the Second Marine Air Wing. Prior to that, he served as the Commanding Officer of an Advance Landing Party aboard an LST that traveled through the eye of a Category 2 hurricane en route from Norfolk, Virginia, to Fleet Maneuvers off Vieques Island in the Caribbean.
Groth attended the University of Minnesota on a football scholarship and the GI. Bill. He graduated from the School of Journalism with a minor in Humanities. The day after receiving his B.A., he was recalled to active duty by the Marines and served with the Second Marine Air Wing during the Korean conflict.
After his honorable discharge, Groth’s interest in aviation resulted in his becoming executive assistant to the president of Winzen Research – a plastic balloon research and development company where he participated in the U.S. Air Force Man High I and II world record high altitude balloon flights of Capt. Joe Kittinger and Major David Simons. He subsequently joined Hughes Aircraft Company in El Segundo, California, after Winzen developed a radar reflective balloon for use as targets for the guided missiles Hughes was then developing for the U.S. Air Force.
At Hughes, while he was director of commercial diversification at the Company's Research and Development Group, Groth conceived the use of a satellite to transmit and network cable TV programs. He subsequently convinced Teleprompter Corp.'s vice president of engineering Hubert J. Schlafly to fund the development of a pioneering microwave transmission system to interconnect cable systems. That led to Teleprompter's chairman and president Irving B. Kahn's decision to join with Hughes in creating joint ventures to seek and develop cable systems in Manhattan and Los Angeles. At Kahn's invitation, Groth joined Teleprompter and as general manager of Teleprompter Manhattan he successfully executed the first satellite transmission of a cable program from Israel during its 25th annivrtsary celebration. At Teleprompter, Groth also produced the first “Live from Lincoln Center” telecast using low-light level TV cameras developed for the Hughes Surveyor lunar landing program. It validated Lincoln Center's executive producer John Goberman's theory that "live" TV broadcasts could be done with existing house lighting at the New York State Theater.
Previously, Groth was nominated by Hughes to attend and subsequently graduated from the first University of Southern California School of Business Managerial Policy Institute executive development program directed by Dr. Preston Martin who later became deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.
After leaving Teleprompter and Hughes, Groth became executive vice president and chief operating officer of General Optronics Corp., a high-tech solid state telecommunications start-up that was the first company to commercialize semiconductor lasers for communications and instrumentation.
Groth was a founding director and subsequently president and chairman of the board of the Electronic Sales & Marketing Association, and chairman of the Microwave Components Subcommittee of the Electronic Industries Association.
Following his retirement, Groth became interested in writing a biography of Albert Gallatin. While researching Gallatin's papers at New York University, he came across a letter Captain Meriwether Lewis wrote Gallatin requesting help in preparing for his expedition. That reawakened his interest in Lewis & Clark, and Groth considered writing and editing a daily newspaper column to coincide with the 200th anniversary of their voyage. To do so, he decided to transcribe their handwritten journals to make certain there were entries for each day. It was then that he discovered Captain Meriwether Lewis did not start writing daily entries until April 7th, 1805. That represented the birth of these Chronicles. He has worked on them intermittently since 2001.
Joseph Groth is married to Nancy Flynn Groth, an Alpha poet.