GREENCASTLE, Pa. — John L. Grove, widely credited as the creative force behind the invention of the hydraulic telescoping crane boom, the modern-day aerial work platform and the hydraulic roll-back truck bed, died at his Pennsylvania home recently at the age of 82.
Not only was Mr. Grove acknowledged as a brilliant creative force, he was a pioneer in introducing cranes and aerials to the marketplace. Mr. Grove co-founded Grove Manufacturing in Shady Grove, Pa., in 1946, launching its first hydraulic cranes for the commercial market in 1952. After selling the company in 1967, Mr. Grove founded JLG Industries in McConnellsburg, Pa., in 1969 to manufacture aerial work platforms, leading that company until his retirement in 1993.
“He brought so much more to the industry than the word ‘inventor’ could ever cover,” Craig Paylor, senior vice president of sales, marketing and customer support for JLG, told RER. “His concepts of extendable axles, oscillating axles, basket rotation, electric engines and so many other product improvements paved the way for safe and secure height access around the world. While others may claim to be the real ‘first,’ his other product improvements have made his legacy unmatched. He knew how to sell his machines better than anyone else. He understood the marketplace and the role his machines would play and why they had to be built to last.
Mr. Grove was appreciated and respected by his competitors as well as his business partners. “The industry is going to miss its founder,” said Don Roach, a now-retired former executive with Snorkel, which competed against JLG for years. “I had great respect and admiration for the man. I always remember when we took the first Snorkel lift and introduced it to the public for the first time, John walked over and introduced himself and complimented us on a well-engineered piece of equipment.”
Mr. Grove was well known as a philanthropist. He gave millions of dollars to Shippensburg University, which named its business school for him, and a medical center in Greencastle, Pa., now known as John L. Grove Medical Center.
Mr. Grove remained active in charities and business even after his retirement from JLG. He served on the board of directors of National Equipment Services until last fall, when he stepped down because of health problems.
Mr. Grove is survived by his wife Cora.