Eliza Lynore Banchoff Grover: July 27, 1999 – October 7, 2023
On Saturday afternoon October 7, 2023, Eliza Grover was walking home on a sidewalk near an elementary school in Towson, Maryland, when she was hit by a drunk driver whose truck jumped the curb. Her life ended in an instant, generating tremendous ripple effects of grief across her many communities.
On Monday, October 30, at 4:30 pm, Eliza’s communities will come together at Stanford’s Memorial Church. All are welcome.
Eliza was born in San Francisco on July 27, 1999. The family moved to Menlo Park two months after her twin sisters Natalie and Mariah were born in November 2001. Eliza attended Oak Knoll Elementary School, Hillview Middle School, and Menlo-Atherton High School, graduating in 2017.
In seventh grade, she spent the year in Oaxaca, Mexico with her family, experiencing a local school and a completely different life. She made friends, was recruited into every sports team the small school offered, and developed a love of the Spanish language and Latin American cultures that she cultivated for the rest of her life. Years later, she wrote her college essays about the ways that year had transformed her sense of herself and of the world.
Eliza loved sports and being part of a team. After tumbling at Burgess and swimming with PASA, she played soccer and basketball before settling into an enduring love of volleyball. Over the years, she played at numerous South Bay clubs, most recently Red Rock, where she also coached younger players. At Menlo-Atherton, she joined the school’s first freshman team before jumping up to play Varsity for the next three years. The team won two Northern California Division 1 championships and competed in back-to-back State Championships. In her senior year, she was the team’s captain and the league’s co-MVP.
Eliza and her sisters grew up with a deep connection to the Sierra Nevada. The family spent many dreamy summer weeks on Fallen Leaf Lake and later made a home in Serene Lakes, where they continue to gather. An intrepid outdoors woman, Eliza loved downhill and cross-country skiing, hiking, backpacking, and swimming in mountain lakes. In August 2023, Eliza spent five days on the Tahoe Rim Trail with family and friends.
Eliza attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and graduated in 2021 with a BS in Cognitive Neuroscience. While at Brown she was a research assistant at the Bradley Sleep Laboratory and an Associate Member of the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society. During the summers, she worked as an intern at Grail, Inc. and as a research assistant at the Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center, where she contributed to a published paper on concussion in girls. She also returned to Oaxaca with Child Family Health International to study health equity and gain experience in community health centers and hospitals.
While at Brown, Eliza played Division 1 NCAA volleyball as a right-side hitter for the Bears. She was a steady force on the team, earning Academic All-Ivy and Academic All-District honors as well as All-Ivy Honorable Mention twice. She loved the team and relished the competition, but when COVID canceled her senior season, she took it in stride and signed up to earn her EMT and Wilderness First Aid certifications and work in a low-income clinic in Providence. She also found her love for running and completed the first of many half-marathons.
Upon graduation, Eliza spent a summer leading outdoor trips for Overland Adventures and then moved to Seattle, a city that had always had a powerful gravitational pull for her. It quickly became her beloved home. With her close friends and an ever-growing, cherished social circle, Eliza took every chance she could to be outside, exploring the city, adventuring in Washington’s wilderness, and watching sunsets over Puget Sound, sometimes punctuating the beauty with a polar plunge. She played adult-league volleyball and board games, had dinner parties, danced with her friends at concerts, and made all of them join Good Reads.
Having arrived in Seattle without a job, Eliza found her place at the Rainier Clinical Research Center, initially as a Research Assistant and then as a Clinical Research Coordinator, helping to implement medical device clinical trials for people with diabetes. She relished the opportunity to come to know the patients and to learn from physicians. In her own words, the job “cemented her passion for the research process and its potential for population-level impact.” Never a fashion icon, she also really liked wearing scrubs. With inspiring clarity, she decided that she wanted to become a doctor and applied for post-baccalaureate programs to complete the requirements for medical school.
In May 2023, Eliza began a year of intensive study at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. She was the only one in her cohort who took all of her notes by hand, her signature chicken-scratch handwriting sprawled in fat notebooks. Eliza made friends within the program and sought other connections, practicing with and helping to coach the undergraduate volleyball team, and volunteering with local not-for-profits.
And she ran, more and more, and always joyfully. She was training for the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October, and had started to talk about trail running and ultramarathons. While she ran, she often listened to running podcasts. She admitted that this was weird. She was just unabashedly fascinated and enchanted by the experience of being in her body for all of those miles. On the morning of her death, she ran 10 miles and then, in the afternoon, took that final walk.
Eliza was a devoted daughter, sister, and friend, who openly and fully adored the people who were lucky enough to be part of her life. Through shared adventures, laughing fits, consistent phone calls, and beautiful letters, she prioritized and nurtured her relationships.
To know Eliza was to know how much she loved her sisters, and centered their bond in her life, always finding ways to include them in her conversations and welcome them into her friendships. She was immensely proud of their accomplishments and the women they have grown up to be. Eliza was fiercely competitive, yet inclusive and warm, building community everywhere she went. She always made sure the people in her life felt listened to, supported, and, at times, humbled.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks community members to consider a contribution to the Eliza Grover Memorial Fund, which will support girls’ academics/athletics at Menlo-Atherton High School and land preservation and recreation on Donner Summit. The Fund is in the process of being established as a not-for-profit (501c3). To receive a message when a donation link is available, please complete this brief form at https://tinyurl.com/ElizaGroverMemorialFund.
Eliza is survived by her younger sisters Natalie and Mariah; her parents, Ann Banchoff and Christopher Grover of Menlo Park; grandparents Lynore Banchoff of Menlo Park, Mimi Grover of Grass Valley, CA, and Thomas & Kathleen Banchoff of Providence, RI; many adoring aunts, uncles and cousins; and an extended family of friends near and far.
Note: This remembrance of Eliza was provided by her family.