Keith R. Groth, 81, of rural Decorah, died Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, at Gundersen Health Systems in La Crosse, Wis. Funeral services were at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 10, at the Highland Lutheran Church in rural Decorah, with the Reverend Kathy Wicks officiating. Burial was in the church cemetery. Visitation was 4-8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Mengis Funeral Home in Mabel and one hour prior to services at the church. mengisfuneralhome.com.
Keith was born June 3, 1932, in Highland Township, Winneshiek County, to Luther and Julia (Larson) Groth. He attended the Kjome School and graduated from the Decorah High School. He married Rita Kolaas in Calmar Oct. 19, 1952. They lived and farmed in Highland Township. Rita passed away Nov. 28, 2011. He was an active lifetime member of the Highland Lutheran Church, serving in numerous positions throughout his lifetime. Keith's main love was farming. Tending his sheep, cattle, chickens and favorite donkey 'Jenny' brought purpose and enjoyment to his life. Keith cherished the little things the most -- from the way the lambs would jump and play in his barnyard to testing someone's grip with his bone-crushing handshake. He could tell stories for as long as you cared to listen and his eyes would wander as if he was living them all over again. This tough old dude will not soon be forgotten.
Keith is survived by four sons: Jeff (Judy) of Red Oak, Texas, Dan (Cindy) of Winona, Minn., David of Madison, Wis. and Richard (Deb) of Rochester, Minn.; seven grandchildren: Jamie (Elizabeth), Nicholas (Delia), Josiah (Monica), Elias, Ayla, Brandon, and Kyle; four great-grandchildren: Maya, Lindsey, Victoria and Inara; a brother, Duane (Shirley), of Decorah; and two sisters, Norma (Don) Halse of Decorah and Ila Barnes of Rochester.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Rita; his parents; and a brother, Kenneth.