Walter LeRoy Grothe, 94, of Rochester, formerly of Des Moines, IA passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Monday, March 11, 2019 at the Rochester Rehabilitation and Living Center/Homestead.
Walter was born September 1, 1924 in Grandview Township, Iowa to Otto and Lula (Walters) Grothe. He was a graduate of Grandview High School. Following graduation, Walter joined the U.S. Army and served his country in combat in the European Theatre during WW II. He was assigned to the 120th (Heavy Artillery) Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army, where he attained the rank of Corporal and was awarded 5 Bronze Stars and the Bronze Star Medal Citation "for heroic achievement in action on 7 October 1944, in Germany..." On September 9, 1951, Walter married Gladys Sellner and they resided in the Des Moines area. He went to work as an over-the-road truck driver. He traveled to all 50 states in the U.S. during his lifetime. In 2006, Walter and Gladys moved to The Village at Legacy Pointe in Waukee, Iowa where they shared an active life with family and friends until Gladys' death in 2013. Walter remained in Waukee until February 2018 when he moved to Rochester MN where he made many new friends and maintained connections to his family and friends throughout the country. He was an expert with Facebook and Facetime! Walter was a member of the VFW, American Legion and attended the Westchester Evangelical Church in Des Moines, Iowa. He enjoyed spending time at Lake Robins Ballroom in Woodward, IA, dancing and listening to big band music. Walter also enjoyed being a backyard mechanic, fishing, boating and spending time at the lake. He was a loving, unselfish and generous man with a great sense of humor. Walter was patient, always positive and upbeat and a friend to many. Above all, he was a devoted caregiver to both his wife, Gladys, and his daughter, Janis, for many years. He loved and cherished his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His kindness touched many lives and he will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
Walter is survived by his son, Ronald (Rayna) Grothe of Rochester, MN; daughter, Laura (Rick) Bistrow of Scottsdale, AZ; grandchildren, Thomas Grothe, Kevin Grothe (Lindsay McAfee), Ryan Grothe (Becky), Brian Woods(Kyle), Amy Dubois(Marc), Matthew Woods (Kristi), Elizabeth Bistrow, Sara Smith(Matthew), and (Jamie Woods Flynn); great-grandchildren, Ethan, Noah, Marc Jr, Ava Kaye, Elena, Dylan, Stephanie, Cooper, Carson, Eric Scott, Cole, Jase, Luke, Jaxx , Aaron and Matt; precious sisters, Lou Burritt and Ruth Yerington; and dear sister-in-law Ruth Sellner. Walter was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Gladys; daughter, Janis; infant daughter, Cynthia; grandson, Eric Paul; 2 sisters, Edna Saue and Elaine Miller and brother, Paul "Butch" Grothe.
A graveside service will be held at 9:30am Monday, June 10, 2019 at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter, Iowa. The family is grateful for the care provided by Mayo Clinic Hospice, Home Instead, and Rochester Rehabilitation and Living Center/Homestead during the last few weeks of Walters's life. Arrangements entrusted to Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes, Rochester, MN. To share a special memory or condolence, please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com If desired, memorials may be sent to VFW post 9662, 1309 NE 66th Avenue, Des Moines Iowa 50313, or to VFW post 1215, 2775 43rd St NW, Rochester MN or to Ronald McDonald House, Rochester MN, www.rmhmn.org/donate
Courtesy of Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes