Michael Ray DeGroote, a finance major and student-athlete, died June 30, 2015. He was 22.
Mr. DeGroote was born March 16, 1993, to David and Mari DeGroote. He grew up in Fountain Hills and was involved in Little League baseball, Pop Warner youth football, Boys and Girls Club basketball, Boy Scouts and the youth group at Christ’s Church of Fountain Hills.
Mr. DeGroote graduated from Fountain Hills High School where he was an all-state athlete in football and baseball. He played football for two years at Scottsdale Community College before walking onto the team at Northern Arizona University where he earned a full scholarship.
Flying also was a true passion for Mr. DeGroote, and he was one flight away from receiving his private pilot’s license. His lifelong goal was to become a commercial airline pilot.
During the football offseason, he worked at Walgreen’s as a pharmacy technician and at Northland Beverage Company in Flagstaff. He also was the owner of Snap Fitness, a fitness center in Fountain Hills.
Aside from athletics, Mr. DeGroote loved to play guitar, go scuba diving, hike, camp, fish, snowboard and hang out with his many friends.
Most of all, Mr. DeGroote was a great role model and friend to his younger brothers, Jacob, 18, and Joey, 17. He was loved and respected by many people as evidenced by the immense outpouring of support. He had a positive impact on all those he came in contact with and lived his life to the fullest.
A celebration of life memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 11, at Christ’s Church of Fountain Hills, 15555 E Bainbridge Ave.
A scholarship fund has been set up in Mr. DeGroote’s honor with proceeds going to future athletes at Fountain Hills High School. Donations can be made here.