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Walter J. Grethen 1922-2014

January 14, 2014
Emmetsburg News

MALLARD -- Memorial service for Walter J. Grethen of Mallard was held Saturday, Jan. 11, at St. Marys Catholic Church in Mallard. The Rev. Thomas Hart officiated.

Mr. Grethen donated his body to the University of Iowa. Burial will be at a later date at Ellington Cemetery, Mallard. The Harris Funeral Home in Mallard was in charge of arrangements.

Walter J. Grethen, age 91, went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. He was the son of Jacob and Mary (Seger) Grethen, and was born on April 28, 1922 in Mallard.

He is survived by his five children: Judy (Ken) Dillion of Minnesota; Pam (Gerry) Rolle of California; Mary (Larry) Grebe of Indiana; Kay Perry of Idaho; Pat Grethen of Indiana; 12 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and his sister Mary Lou (Tom) Thompson of Mallard.

Walt was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Nan; son, Mike Iler; brothers, Jim, Leo and Gene Grethen; and sisters, Lillian Schneiders, Alice Schneiders, Liberty Schultz, Carolyn Clark, and Leona Miller.

After Walt graduated from Rolfe High School, he put on his wandering shoes traveling all over the U.S., working in California and the Dakotas. One of his most beloved interests was reading travel books and learning about the world.

Walt and Nan were joined in marriage on April 17, 1952. They celebrated 61 years of marriage last April, the day Nan left this earth for her heavenly home. He and Nan farmed on the Plover corner on Highway 4, retiring in 2004. They worked hard farming and raising their family. They traveled to Mesa, AZ, for 31 winters and so enjoyed the many good friends made there as well as friends from their Iowa community.

Walt loved to travel and never liked to take the same road twice to any location which made it tough for any one riding along to know how to get anywhere. He taught all of his children many things; most important was how to work hard, do your best and appreciate nature's beauty.

Walt took his family to Lake Okoboji every summer for vacation after the work was done on the farm. The family has many happy memories of days spent there and continues to meet there each summer making new memories. He enjoyed many hobbies during his life: traveling, bridge, card games, golf, bowling, and woodworking. He built beautiful tables, canes, and clocks. He would travel country roads looking for wildflowers and "weeds" for his special arrangements. Walt loved to play cards. Two days before he died, he played 20 hands of Wizard with his daughter, Judy and husband, Ken. And he said "I won."

Walt lived out his last years at the Emmetsburg Care Center in Emmetsburg, where he received excellent care. The family thanks every one there for all the love and caring given to both Walt and Nan. He left a wonderful legacy of life and love and will be dearly missed.

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