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Duane Harvey Grooters of Preston, MN, was born on June 19, 1942 in Lanesboro, Minnesota to Levern and Beatrice (Sikkink) Grooters. His family lived on different farms in the area of Greenleafton, MN, before settling on a farm at the intersection of 9 and 44. He attended a one-room school (Bristol Center) all 8 years before attending and graduating from the Minnesota Ag School in Waseca, MN, in 1960. He went to a Christian Liberal Arts College, Central College, in Pella, IA, for a year, and then went to a trade school for welding and drafting. He worked as a welder for a couple years before being drafted into the US Army. He spent several months in Ft. Lewis, WA, before being sent to Viet Nam as a welder. After finishing his term in the army, he moved to WA state permanently, and the second day after arriving in WA, secured a job working at Glenn's Welding which lasted 27 years. He also ran his own business, Outrigger Hook, for a few years before retiring. He was very creative at making and fixing things.
He married Charlotte Scheevel on August 27, 1966 in Lynnwood, WA and together they had 3 children. They were later divorced. He was active in the Lynnwood Free Methodist Church, serving as Missions coordinator and also was coordinator of Kare Kontainer Ministry in which shipping containers were filled with donations of items needed and shipped to various parts of the world, most often in Africa. After a mission trip to Africa in 1996, he was profoundly impressed with the needs of the people in the area.
On April 22, 2006, he married Jerilyn Hovey Gehrking in Wykoff, MN. Growing up in the Greenleafton area, they knew each other as kids. They lived in Edmonds, WA for 6 years before moving to a condominium in Ancora Village Society, in Everett, WA. They were able to serve in several missions trips, to Mexico, Chile, and Africa, as well as make a trip to Israel. This also enabled them to return to Minnesota for six months each year. Duane was always happy to return to Washington state for the winter months.
In May, 2018 they moved back to Minnesota permanently to live in his parents' home in Greenleafton. The slower pace of life and Greenleafton traffic were a definite plus. He enjoyed feeding the birds, doing the lawn work, tending his father's raspberry bed, and especially the flower garden out in front. While they lived in Washington, he built a martin house and then completely disassembled it to move it to Minnesota, specifically Reads Landing. It was important to get the houses ready in the spring for the arrival of the first martins, even buying waders last year so he could get to the martin house and put up the gourd houses. Watching the Mississippi flow by, the barge and boat traffic, the dredging activity, the trains, and all the water fowl plus the eagles was particularly enjoyable.
He was diagnosed with cerebellar syndrome in 2011, which affected his speech and eventually, in the past year, his ability to swallow. His patience to endure without complaining was remarkable and a testimony to his love for his Lord and Savior. Throughout his life, he generously supported many missionaries and missions which were dear to him.
He is survived by his wife, Jerilyn, his daughter Debbie Watkins of Bothell, WA, his sons Steve (Jeanette) of Edmonds, WA, and Dan (Jennifer) of Denver, CO, six grandchildren, two step-daughters, Maren (Scott) Gilsrud of Wykoff, MN, and Marlayna Gehrking (Carrie O'Connell) of Pittsburgh, PA and six step-grandchildren, a sister Carol (Bill) Clausen of Omaha, NE, and a nephew Jeff (Amber) Clausen of Tulsa, OK. He was preceded in death by his parents. His body will be cremated and he will be interred in the VA cemetery in Preston at a later date.
A memorial service will be held at Greenleafton Reformed Church, rural Preston, MN, on February 29 at 11:00 a.m. with lunch to follow. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorials may be directed to Salvation Army, Samaritan's Purse or Greenleafton Reformed Church sound system.
Hindt-Hudek funeral home is assisting the family.
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