David Grotberg’s family continues his legacy

Fergus Falls, Minn., sophomore David Grotberg, was killed in a hit-and-run accident on Oct. 6, 2016. Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

By Joy Moton | Staff Writer

Nearly four months after receiving the most horrifying news of their lives, Clark and Diane Grotberg continue to revel in the love they have been shown after the death of their son, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident on Oct. 6, 2016.

Fergus Falls, Minn., sophomore David Grotberg was a member of the Golden Wave Band, and when news of his death reached bands all over the country, they responded with tributes to honor Grotberg.

“When we first found out that he had been killed, we just felt so alone, and all of a sudden, all these bands are playing tributes to him, and we just really felt that it helped us in our grief to have him honored,” David’s mother, Diane Grotberg, said.

Collegemarching.com listed the top ten best marching band moments of 2016, with “Band World Remembers David Grotberg” listed as No. 1.

After getting news of David’s death, the Grotbergs also thought they lost their connections to David’s community at Baylor.

“We both looked at one another and said, ‘Oh my goodness, we’ve lost our Baylor family,’” David’s father Clark Grotberg said. “Quite honestly for me, it was like losing another kid.”


The Baylor community responded with memorial services, prayer vigils and group bicycle rides.


“They just became such a good family to him,” Diane Grotberg said. “It was hard for us in being so far away, but we’re so grateful to the Lord that he just found these people.”


Through their grief, the Grotberg family has found strength in their faith.


“You can’t just be mad at the world, and we can’t be mad at this driver that killed him. Our hope is that that driver finds the Lord and gets to know the same Jesus that David knows,” David’s father said.

David’s mother does not want people to think the family does not feel the pain of missing their son every day, but she wants them to know that they keep life in perspective to keep pushing forward.


“If God was good on October 5, then God is still good on October 6, 7 and 8,” Clark Grotberg said. “If God isn’t good because David was killed, then why are we saying God is good at all? Because people are being killed every day.”


Since David’s death, the family has found its own ways to honor David’s legacy. From the age of 14 until his death, David went on an annual mission trip to work in the House of Hope Orphanage in Zacapa, Guatemala.

“David’s heart really got grabbed by the people at the House of Hope,” Clark Grotberg said.

This December, the family was conflicted about going on the trip, considering David had died just three months before. Funding for the trip was scarce, and they were unsure about partaking in something David cherished so deeply. After much prayer, the Grotbergs were compelled to go and see about the children David loved.

“They found out right away about his death, and they were pretty sad about it, but they were happy to see us,” Clark Grotberg said.

The family has also carried on a robotics team in David’s honor. David created his own robotics team in high school, and it has become one of the top teams in the nation. Since his death, the family has continued to compete in tournaments and won first place robot at the regional level. North Dakota State University hosted a tournament and created an award in David’s honor. The family continues to succeed in the robotics world using David’s motto:

“There is no scenario in which we lose. If we put our best foot forward and put our all into the team, it doesn’t matter what place we come in,” Clark Grotberg said, quoting his son.

The Grotberg family has also made the decision to give back to the community that David loved so dearly. As David filled out applications for college, his mother helped him apply for scholarships. In her search, she noticed that there were not very many scholarships for homeschooled students.

I remember thinking, “Man, isn’t there someone out there with a lot of money that could do a scholarship for the homeschooled kids?” Diane Grotberg said. “Then I thought maybe somehow if he makes it big, he can remember the homeschooled kids.”

After David’s funeral, there was a ton of money left over from donations that were made, and the family was unsure of what to do with it.

“We said, ‘How do we keep David’s connection with Baylor? How do we bless somebody through David at Baylor?,’” Diane Grotberg said.

The Grotberg family decided to contribute the remaining money from David’s funeral contributions to start a scholarship fund for homeschooled students in the Baylor Honors College.

“It was too much money for just a funeral, and we felt like it wasn’t ours to spend,” Diane Grotberg said. “So we said, ‘We’re going to start a scholarship at Baylor, and we’re going to do our part.’”


The scholarship fund is still growing, and David’s mother has a goal for it to reach $100,000.

According to an email from Petra Carey, coordinator of communications, recruitment and external relations for the Honors College, people can donate by texting DAVIDG to 41444 or visiting the Baylor website.

“As we watch these things happen, it really helps in our grief because one of my first thoughts was, ‘He’s going to be forgotten,’” Diane Grotberg said.


David’s legacy continues to spread, even outside of Baylor. A triathlon and a space in the Fergus Falls Public Library will also be dedicated to David’s memory.

“Even though David’s gone, he mattered when he lived, and he still matters as a child of God,” Diane Grotberg said.