Virgene Ann Groth, rural Elkport, Iowa, July 10, 2024

Virgene Mathilde Anna Groth, 100, of rural Elkport passed away peacefully at Mercy One Hospital in Elkader on July 10, 2024.

Virgene was born on October 31, 1923, to Rosetta (Sadewasser) and Alfred Wittman on their farm near Garber, delivered by her grandmother Marie Sadewasser.  She was so tiny that her grandmother didn’t think she would live.  Her first bed was a shoe box placed in the open wood oven to keep her warm.  As Virgene noted, she outlived them all.

Virgene attended the Dannenbring School near Plagman Barn where she loved swinging high on the circular “Giant Strides” swings.  One of her favorite memories is of her dad playing fiddle for barn dances.  Her entire family went to dances at Lakeside Ballroom in Guttenberg every Saturday night and she couldn’t recall sitting out a single dance. Virgene and Clarence Groth met at Lakeside and were married on June 21, 1945.  They were married for 76 years until Clarence passed away in March of 2021.

Virgene and Clarence were long time members of Hope Lutheran Church in Littleport. Virgene baked pies and cakes for ice cream socials and other church gatherings. She enjoyed helping to clean at church for many years.

Virgene was happiest when working and loved to garden, bake, and sew.  She made her own dress patterns from dresses she’d seen in stores.  Her family enjoyed her homemade bread and cinnamon rolls, sweet pickles, apple pies, sweetcorn and a favorite of the grandchildren, peanut butter balls.  Most of all, she loved to work outdoors, helping with chores, unloading hay, repairing and painting buildings, caring for chickens and livestock, and gardening.  Everybody pitched in shucking peas and corn, digging potatoes, picking berries, and snapping beans.

A devoted and caring mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Virgene had a special place in her heart for her grandchildren and great grandchildren.  A natural born teacher, she loved to share things she’d learned or hints from her experiences. Her style of discipline was to give age-appropriate explanations, something her children and grandchildren continue to do.

Virgene is survived by her four children, Sandra Groth of Elkader, Steven (Ingrid) Groth of Marion, Suann (Brett) Eaton of Elkader and Sheri (Gene) Glawe of Elkader; seven grandchildren, Nathan (Meredith) Eaton, Danielle Eaton, Justin (Sara) Haught, Bradly (Lauren) Haught, Kaelyn (Ean) Popenhagen, Carter Haught, and Sandi Anderson; great grandchildren, Garrett and Vivian Eaton, Conner, Ava and Braden Seaton, Winnie, Millie and Otto Haught, and Macallan Haught.

She was preceded in death by her parents, siblings Arleen Adams, Kenneth Wittman, Robert Wittman, Marlin Wittman, Alfred Wittman Jr. and great granddaughter, Gracie Seaton.

A special Thank You from the family to Mercy One Physical Therapy people, to the caring nurses and doctors of MercyOne Elkader and St. Croix Hospice.

Memorials may be directed to MercyOne Hospital, St Croix Hospice or Hope Lutheran Church.

Private Services will be held with burial at Guttenberg City Cemetery.

Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Elkader is assisting the family.


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