Together, they served the city of Worthington for 75 years.

Together, they served the city of Worthington for 75 years.

Individually, they left a legacy of unparalleled public service.

David Groth, the city's public-service director, and Mike Minister, its director of law, will retire Dec. 31, creating voids in the city's staff that might never be filled completely.

"Their knowledge and experience cannot be replaced," James Lorimer, vice mayor, said as Worthington City Council bid farewell to Groth and Minister during its Dec. 17 meeting.

Council recessed early to hold a reception for the two. First, Lorimer, who is known for his speeches honoring community members, spoke eloquently of both men.

"No city does it better," he said of Worthington's service department under Groth.

The city is known for its effective snow removal, leaf pickup and trash collection, all of which worked under Groth, the service director since 1991.

"If you move it to the curb, it will be picked up," Lorimer said.

Groth is known for leading by example, arriving at the office every morning at 5:30 and sometimes working 36 hours straight, driving snow plows through the night, Lorimer said.

He actually was hired by the city as a part-time crew member for the Department of Parks and Recreation in 1974, when he was a student at Ohio State University.

From 1978 until 1984, he worked full time as the parks maintenance supervisor.

He then took a job as administrator with the city of Grandview Heights, returning to Worthington as service director in 1991.

A resolution passed by council noted Groth's "friendship, humor and loyalty to his co-workers," as well as dedication and leadership, which played an instrumental role in providing quality service to the citizens of Worthington.

Minister steps down as the longest-serving of all city employees, having joined the staff as a college student in 1963 as a police radio dispatcher.

He also was a member of the Sharon Township (now Worthington) Fire Department and worked as an administrative intern during the 1960s.

In the 1970s, after serving in the Navy, he returned to the city as assistant to the city manager, director of administration and taxation, and, for a short period in 1974, acting city manager.

He earned his law degree from Capital University in 1974 and took a job with Baker & Hostetler. In 1975, he was named law director, working through the law firm. In 2007, he retired from the firm and began to work full time for the city.

He is a lifelong Worthington resident who graduated from Worthington High School and raised four boys there with his wife, Patti.

On Monday afternoon, prior to the retirement reception, his fourth grandchild -- and first granddaughter, Frances -- was born.

"God has a way of putting light where there is darkness," he told the people gathered in council chambers to wish him well.

He thanked all of the people who allowed him to spend his life serving the community that he loves. It has been remarkable, he said.

"I leave, knowing this town is in really good hands," Minister said. "You're not going to find a place better than this. This really is as good as it gets."