Gerald A. H. Groskreutz, 86
Wells Gerald August Herman Groskreutz, age 86, of rural Wells passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015 at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, S.D. 15 years after being diagnosed with carcinoid cancer. A funeral service will be held Monday, Nov. 2, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Wells, with Rev. Mary Iverson officiating. Visitation will be Sunday, Nov. 1, from 4 8 p.m. at Bruss-Heitner Funeral Home in Wells, and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Monday. Burial will be at Rosehill Cemetery in Wells. Military Honors will be accorded by the Wells Color Guard.
Gerald was born Dec. 9, 1928, on the home farm in Vivian Township, the son of Alfred and Helena (Brandt) Groskreutz. Gerald attended the District 47 Waseca County rural school. Gerald needed to remain on the farm to assist his father with the dairy business, so further education, including a GED equivalent, was achieved through courses from the United States Armed Forces Institute. Gerald loved to learn and took many opportunities throughout his life to enhance his education. He was an avid reader and enjoyed traveling all over the world with his family.
Gerald married Bonnie Jean Schull on Dec. 13, 1952 at St John’s Lutheran Church in Mapleton. Together they raised seven children: Judi (Jim) Schwerin, Sioux Falls, S.D., Jerry (Louise) Faribault, Jim (Jeannie) La Crosse, Wisc., Joe (Brenda) Reedsburg, Wisc., Jon (Kauline) Orange City, Iowa, Deb Groskreutz (Annette Lenners) Ashland, Ore. and Dayna Groskreutz (Dave Basel), Sioux Falls, S.D. Also missing “Papa” are 21 grandchildren, Terra Rowe, Liesl Schwerin, Laura and Stephen Groskreutz, Derek and Molly Groskreutz, Brook Kraus, Ashley Sand, Brieana and Amber Groskreutz, Ty, Cody, BJ, Zach, Levi, Luke, Carter and Anna Groskreutz, and Hannah, Elsa, and Clara Basel. Three great-grandchildren also survive: Mica, Charlotte and Brayden. Gerald’s siblings and lifelong friends are Dorothy Osland, Fairmont, Donald Groskreutz, Alameda, Calif., Harvey Groskreutz, New Albany, Ind., Roger Groskreutz, Wells, and Margarete Melcher, Walters.
Gerald served his country for two years, 1953-1955, in the US Army where he was based in Ft Lewis, Wash. He then began 60 and 40 year careers as a crop and dairy farmer, respectively. He served in leadership roles with the Farm Bureau, Wells-Easton School Board, Plum Valley Creamery, Wells Lions Club, Faribault County Fair Board, and Habitat for Humanity. Gerald was named the Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year in 1961, and the entire family was honored as the Faribault County Farm Family of the Year in 1991.
The farm, Gerald’s passion for learning, and Gerald and Bonnie’s commitment to hard work provided a rich legacy. Gerald valued his farming relationships, first with his father then with his son, Jerry; brother, Roger; and nephew, Chad. The dairy operation provided his children’s education, and Gerald encouraged them in their educational pursuits, even far away from the farm. After semi-retirement, Gerald began going to Wells for coffee and swimming with friends in Minnesota Lake and Albert Lea. He sang with the church for the next several decades. He loved to play cards, especially pfeffer.
Gerald was a deeply faithful man and was an active member of St Paul’s Lutheran Church of Vivian Township and then a 49 year member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Wells. Gerald was committed to his church and served as a Sunday school teacher, church council member, Bethel Bible Study teacher, Stephen Minister, and Confirmation mentor. He was active in the Social Ministry Committee, the church choir, and Promise Keepers. He briefly assisted his son who was working as a medical missionary in Papua, New Guinea. The ministry about which Gerald was most passionate was his 35 trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, guiding youth and adults to appreciate God’s creation and learn the important concepts of community. Common observations of BWCA trip participants were his courage dealing with the unexpected wilderness challenges and his effortless, powerful paddling of the canoe
He is preceded in death by his parents, Alfred and Helena Groskreutz; his in-laws Henry and Florence Schull; his son-in-law, Jim Schwerin; his brothers-in-law, Ronnie Osland and Gerald Melcher; and his niece, Susan Melcher.
The whole family was privileged to spend Gerald’s last days with him and watched him “finish strong,” dying in the core values he lived: faith, family, and friends. He and his family were grateful for the visits, Facebook posts, texts, calls and prayers in the last weeks in Sioux Falls.
Memorials are preferred to the Dougherty House in Sioux Falls, S.D., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Wells, Outlaw Ranch, or Camp Onamia.
Bruss-Heitner Funeral Home in Wells handled the arrangements. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.brussheitner.com