Gerald Richard “Jerry” Grote was born to Frederick Richard and Loretta Mary (Daeges) Grote on April 1, 1948, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He was baptized and confirmed at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Portsmouth, Iowa. Jerry attended Catholic school first through sixth grades, and then went to country school for a year. He returned to Catholic school, and graduated from St. Mary’s Catholic School in Portsmouth in 1966. Jerry worked the pork plant in Harlan, Iowa, from 1967-68. He entered the Army in February, 1968, and served one tour of duty in Vietnam. After his discharge in September, 1969, he again worked at the pork plant.
Jerry married Janis Kay Sorensen on August 22, 1970, at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Portsmouth. Two sons were born to this union. In February, 1975, Jerry rejoined the Army. The couple lived in Ft. Riley, Kansas, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, Nuremberg and Hanau, Germany, and Ft. Ord, California. Jerry served two tours of duty in Korea before returning to Ft. Sill. He retired from the Army after serving for 20 years. Jerry and Janis then lived in Lawton, Oklahoma for two years while he worked for the Army Air Force Exchange Service. They moved back to Harlan in January, 1994, where Jerry worked at the Elm Crest Retirement Community in the maintenance department and as a cook. In September, 1997, he took a job at Molded Products in Harlan, where he was employed until 2001, when he was laid off. Jerry then worked at Perkins in Omaha, Nebraska, until June, 2003, when he began working for REM Leadway in Shelby, Iowa. In February, 2004, Jerry was diagnosed with bone cancer, which prevented him from working any longer.
Jerry was a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Harlan, the Saddle Club in Shelby, and the American Legion.
Gerald R. “Jerry” Grote died on Sunday, September 5, 2004, at his Harlan home, having reached the age of 56 years, 5 months, and 4 days.
Jerry was preceded in death by his father and one niece, Stephanie Grote. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Janis Grote of Harlan, Iowa; two sons, Jamie (Mary) Grote of Willmar, Minnesota, and Randy (Bonnie) Grote of Harlan, Iowa; his mother, Loretta Grote of Harlan, Iowa; four sisters, Jeannie (Daryl) Jensen of Shelby, Iowa, Nancy (Randy) Palmer and Connie McElderry, both of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Mary (Bud) VanCamp of Harlan, Iowa; two brothers, Mark (Cheryl) Grote of Harlan, Iowa, and Ronald (Kim) Grote of Washington, Iowa; one sister-in-law, Sandra Brennan of Harlan, Iowa; four grandchildren, Joshua Grote, Kate Grote, Anna Grote, and Sophia Grote; two step-grandchildren, Brandon Trevino and Brian Trevino; nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.
Mass of Christian Burial was held on Friday, September 10, 2004, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Harlan, Iowa, with Father Robert Hoefler celebrating. Kathleen Kohorst and Maryalyce Dotzler served as musicians. Casket bearers were David Jensen, Danny Jensen, Doug Schneider, Danny Schneider, Jennifer Brennan, and Patrick Palmer. Shelby County VFW Post #941 and Helmer Reyelt AL Post #150 were in charge of military rites. Burial was in the Harlan Cemetery in Harlan, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan was in charge of the arrangements.