Joanne Groth

Joanne Groth, 89, passed away peacefully Monday, March 25, 2024 at Woodlands Creek Senior Living Center in Clive. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 11 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Postville with Rev. Lynn Noel as the officiant. Inurnment will follow at St. John Lutheran Church Cemetery in Luana.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 12 at St. Stephens Lutheran Church in Urbandale. Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Monona is assisting the family with services.

Joanne June Grotegut was born June 27, 1934 in Ludlow Township, in rural Waukon. Upon graduating from Waukon High School in 1952, Joanne moved to Cedar Rapids and worked as a secretary at Collins Radio. She returned to Ludlow and married Carlton Martins August 16, 1953. They made their home on Carlton’s family farm until his death in November 1965, at which time she and their four children moved to Postville.

Joanne worked as a legal secretary before becoming the head secretary at Cora B. Darling Elementary School, where she worked for many years. She was very proud of her work and liked to say, “The school doesn’t run without me!” Joanne had many career highlights during her tenure at Darling Elementary - one of which was leading unionization efforts for the Postville School District’s administrative and support staff.

Joanne married Lyle Groth December 30, 1967. They had a passion for fishing and spent many days on the Mississippi River. Their fishing expeditions often included an annual visit to the Boundary Waters, where Lyle’s brother owned the Gunflint Lodge. Lyle passed away in June 1999.

In retirement, Joanne became an excellent seamstress. She loved fabrics and crafted a vast collection of quilts, ornamental holiday pins, dolls, rabbits and Santas. Joanne began wintering in Mesa, AZ, where her sister and sisters-in-law also lived. She loved Mesa and enjoyed photographing desert flowers - proudly returning home each spring with photographs to share.

Joanne met her special friend, Gene Johnson, after being introduced to him at a dance. They would spend the next 18 years together, residing between Waukon and Mesa. Joanne and Gene loved music and dancing, and they traveled throughout the Midwest to attend dance events.

In 2018, Joanne began spending summers in Clive at the Woodlands Creek Senior Living Facility near her daughter, Cathy. She and Gene continued to spend the winter months in Mesa until March 2020, when Gene returned to Waukon and Joanne began residing full-time in Clive. Joanne enjoyed family outings, holidays and delighted in seeing her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren during their visits.

Joanne is survived by her children: Cathy (Mike) Crowley of Clive, Steven (Betty) Martins of Brooker, FL and Jeff (Katie) Martins of Ormond Beach, FL; her daughter-in-law, Carole Martins of Washington; her stepchildren; her grandchildren: Kirsten Noecker, Kari (Mike) Wolfson, Kylie (David) Timmons, Steven (Rachel) Martins, Allison Martins, Craig Martins, Kelsey (Matt) Lins, Katie Martins, Theresa (Mike) Martin, Bruce (Sherry) Strickland, Lisa Brown, Ryan (Ali) Crowley, Andrea (Josh) Lundell and Allison (Martin Wise) Crowley; her sisters, Bonnie Sanderman and Sharon (Richard) Kalloa; her sisters-in-law, Mary Jane Hackman, Norma (Daryl) Sander and Anna Lamphier; as well as many nieces, nephews and great-grandchildren.

Joanne is preceded in death by her son, Craig Alan Martins; her husbands, Carlton Martins and Lyle Groth; her special friend, Gene Johnson; and her parents, Walter and Evangeline.