John E. Grubb Jr. had two great-granddaughters who liked to play with his shoelaces, recalls his daughter, Jessica Fairchild.
Both those girls will turn 1 year old later this year, she told The Capital-Journal on Thursday.
“It was a game to them to untie grandpa’s shoelaces and then laugh at him and crawl away,” Fairchild said. “And then he would retie them, and they’d sneak over and untie them and laugh at him.”
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Topeka homicide stunned family
Grubb’s family of six children, 15 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren were stunned to learn of his death due to a brutal homicide discovered the morning of Sept. 30 near S.E. 2nd and Quincy, she said. Grubb was 63.
His specific cause of death hasn’t been made public.
Cody M. Degand, 26, of Topeka, faces a charge of intentional and premeditated first-degree murder linked to Grubb’s death, according to Shawnee County District Court records.
Fairchild, who said her last name until recently had been Scarbrough, said she’d never heard of Degand prior to his arrest.
‘He would have given you the shirt off his back’
Grubb lived in an apartment in East Topeka with his service dog Buster, Fairchild said.
Buster generally went everywhere with Grubb but was left back at their apartment on the evening he died, she said.
“I don’t know why Buster wasn’t with him that night,” Fairchild said. “I’m happy he wasn’t.”
Fairchild said she wanted people to know Grubb wasn’t homeless, which some people assumed to be the case because he died in an area frequented by homeless people.
“He had a home, and he was very well-loved and he would do anything for anybody,” she said. “All you had to do was ask, and he would have given you the shirt off his back.”
Grubb had been widowed since 1997, said Fairchild.
He later had a life partner until “he moved back to Kansas and left her in Nebraska,” she said.
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John Grubb Jr. taught his children how to do roofing and plumbing work
Fairchild said she and her brothers grew up in Scranton in northern Osage County.
Their father worked in construction, primarily as a roofer, she said.
Fairchild recalled how Grubb taught her and her brothers various mechanical and construction-related skills, including how to replace roofing, how to carry shingles up a ladder and how to do plumbing work.
More recently, Grubb had been disabled and on a fixed income, and underwent brain surgery last December, she said.
“He had a hard time getting around,” Fairchild said.
‘He told you how it was’
Grubb wasn’t shy about sharing opinions, his daughter said.
“He told you how it was,” she said.
Fairchild, who is a Kansas City Chiefs fan, said she had a good-natured rivalry with her father who was a fan of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Grubb would call Fairchild before Raiders-Chiefs games to say, “We’re going to get you,” she recalled.
“It would be the same from me, though,” she said. “I would usually be able to rub it in his face at the end of the game that our team was better.”
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GoFundMe account has been set up
Fairchild encouraged people to donate to an account the family has set up on GoFundMe to try to raise money to help pay Grubb’s funeral expenses.
The website for that account indicated that as of Friday, it had brought in $161 of the $1,000 the family was trying to raise.
Tim Hrenchir can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-213-5934.