Interim Associate Vice President for Business Affairs Sean Hughes sent the following message to the campus community on Sept. 9, 2023. – Ed.

Dear W&M Community,

It is with a heavy heart I write today to share the sad news that John Grober, beloved friend and employee of William & Mary, passed away on August 30, 2023, at the age of 67.

John worked in the Facilities Management department and held the title custodial worker, from May 25, 2016 – June 24, 2017. After that, he transitioned to the position building support worker, from June 25, 2017 – August 30, 2023 at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business. He worked the evening shift doing setups and general housekeeping duties and during the summer months he worked on cleaning and floor care in the residence halls.

He led with empathy, humility and compassion because he lived his life that way. He made the people around him feel significant, like they belonged, demonstrating one of the university’s most important values.

John was a bright spot among the students in Miller Hall. They often engaged with him and gave him high fives whenever they saw him. He had that kind of personality that made him easy to engage with and talk to. He was quick with a smile and a happy greeting. Many faculty and staff sought him out every day for his kind words and his smile that would light up a room. Everyone referred to him as “Big John”, not only because he was tall in stature but also because of his big heart. John would help anyone that needed it. He worked close with the Event staff and MBA staff where he will be sorely missed. 

Although he had been ill for some time, John kept working because he didn’t want to let his co-workers or his customers down. He was a servant leader in everything but job title. 

John was a military veteran and served his country in the Air Force.

A memorial service for John will be handled by at the C.C. Carter Funeral Home on September 9, 2023, at 2 p.m. 


Sean Hughes