Donald Leo Grothe
Donald Leo Grothe, 79, Lake Mills, passed away Monday, May 4, 2020 at his home, surrounded by his loving family. A private family memorial service for Don L. Grothe will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 9, at Mittelstadt Funeral Home with Pastor Joel Guttormson of Salem Lutheran Church officiating. The memorial service will be livestreamed on the Mittelstadt Funeral Home Facebook page. The family will host a drive-thru visitation from 4-7 p.m., Friday, May 8, at Mittelstadt Funeral Home Lake Mills. Upon arrival, please stay in your vehicles and drive through the funeral home garage, where the family will be there to greet you. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that you spend a day doing the things Don would do: take someone golfing; buy someone lunch; or take the time to get to know a stranger. If you feel inclined, memorials may be directed to MercyOne North Iowa Hospice, Salem Lutheran Church, or the donor’s choice.
Donald Leo Grothe was born Dec. 2, 1940 in Creighton, Neb., to Joe and Rose (Hettenbach) Grothe. Don enlisted in the United States Navy, serving his country honorably from 1958-1959.
On May 13, 1961, Don married his better half, Ila (Bergo). The couple was blessed (and sometimes stressed) with five wonderful children: Tammy, Rhonda, Randy, Dawn, and Kevin. They lived in Minneapolis for five years, where Don worked at Federal Stamping and started his first business, Suburban Lawn Care.
They moved to Lake Mills in 1969, where Don opened The Lake Mills Rec. Equipped with an eighth grade education, a quick wit, and a stubborn side, Don purchased Veterans Oil Station. He later changed the name to Don’s Motor Mart, and it quickly became a Lake Mills staple. He was proud that it is still owned by the Grothe family. Don truly enjoyed owning “the station” and looked forward to talking to his customers each and every day.
When Don wasn’t working, you could find him at the golf course in the summer, going on ski trips with his family during the winter months, or making friends all year round. Don didn’t judge his own success by the value of his business, instead he viewed himself successful by the values and virtues he passed down to his family and friends: Be kind, enjoy the moment, and never take life too seriously–there’s always time for a good laugh.
Don is survived by his wife of nearly 59 years, Ila Grothe; daughter, Tammy Hamilton and her children, Mike (Dawn) Hamilton and their children, Cameron, Emma, and Bella; Ashley (Mason) Schares and their child, Killian; daughter, Rhonda (Doug) Harmon and their children, Chalsea (Drew) Roder and their kids, Gracie, Jeneva, and Peyton; Derek (Jesus Gonzales) Harmon, and Jerod (Samantha) Harmon; son, Randy (Christi) Grothe and their children, Sam and Katie; daughter, Dawn (Lindsey) Butterfield and their children, Joshua (Lauren Moniot) Grothe and their son, Andrew; Amber (Mike) Benusa and their daughter, Charlee; and Brianna Butterfield; son, Kevin (Jolene Carter) Grothe and his children, Kray and Claire Grothe and their mother, Chrissy Grothe; sister, Teresa Zila; brother, Jim Grothe; sisters in-law, Carolyn Grothe, Sandy Grothe, Rita Anderson and Janet Bergo; as well as many extended relatives and even more friends.
He is preceded in death by both parents, Joe and Rose Grothe; father and mother in-law, Rudolph and Jeneva Bergo; siblings, Joey Grothe, Paul Grothe, Frieda Olson, Jenny Brower, and Dick Grothe; as well as a grandson, Jacob Grothe.