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Mary Lou Groethe

08/08/1932 - 10/30/2023


Obituary For Mary Lou Groethe

Mary Lou (Kempton) Groethe, 91, peacefully departed this world surrounded by her family in Rapid City on October 30, 2023. Mary was always known for her love of family and kindness to everyone.

She was born on August 8, 1932, to Mervin Paul and Rosey Hattie (Snavely) Kempton in Concordia, Kansas. Mary’s early years were spent in Kansas until her family relocated for her father’s construction work, taking them to Wyoming, Idaho, and Colorado where they eventually settled in Palisade, Colorado. She graduated from Palisade High School in 1950 and on May 3, 1952, married John B. Groethe in Palisade. The couple lived in Utah and Colorado before making Rapid City, South Dakota their home in 1963. There, they raised their family until constructing a cabin in the Black Hills where they spent the remainder of their lives.

Mary embraced various occupations throughout her lifetime from packing peaches in Palisade to working at Woolworths in Grand Junction where she formed a lifelong friendship with Edith (Chase) Groethe who introduced Mary to her husband. She managed the Groethe Sprinkler Company office while also being a dedicated homemaker. Mary always had a flower garden and a few vegetables and houseplants. Mary worked at Sue’s Fabric in Rapid City and was an accomplished seamstress sewing for her family and others. Her final employment was at Riddle’s Gold Company in Rapid City. As a member of the Rapid City YMCA, she passionately instructed water exercise classes for over two decades, keeping her healthy and vibrant.

Mary cherished her family and friends, offering unwavering encouragement to those she knew. She found immense joy in spending time with her family, especially when surrounded by children. Her love for observing and identifying birds, animals and plants was evident and she shared this passion with her family.

Mary Lou was preceded in death by her parents, infant brother Carmen Ray Kempton, husband John B. Groethe of sixty-four years, granddaughter Christine Vulovic, brothers Clayton Kempton and Denny Kempton, seven brothers-in-law, five sisters-in-law, five nephews and two nieces.

She is survived by her four children: John L. Groethe (Shirlene), Elizabeth Groethe-Andrew (Michael), Nancy Louise Groethe, and Jeff Groethe (Lorna). She leaves behind ten grandchildren: Craig Groethe, Brian Groethe and Joshua Groethe, Michael Herndon and Charity Abelardo, Jocelyn Garrison and Adele Davis, Lisa McCormick, Ben Groethe, and Rachel Groethe, as well as twenty great grandchildren. She is also survived by five siblings: Theresa Monte, Barbara Pyeatt, Larry Kempton (Betty), Sharon Decker (Bill), Tom Kempton (Linda) and sisters-in-law: Joan Solon, Jean Diggins, Louise Kempton and Mary Ida Groethe as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Mary’s absence will be keenly felt and fondly remembered by many. A celebration of her life is scheduled for August 3, 2024, in the Black Hills.


3 Aug


Black Hills , Get Directions »
by Obituary Assistant

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  • 04/09/2024

    Dearest are an inspiration to our family and are a sweet wild flower of love in our hearts forever..your daughter..Annie - Posted by Elizabeth Groethe-Andrew on November 4, 2023

  • 04/09/2024

    Aunt Mary is very loved and will be missed by many, including me. I have always been thankful to have Mary in my life! She was an amazing person. She always had a smile on her face, and was always thoughtful and kind to me! I was grateful to be at her 91st birthday on August 8, 2023! What a celebration for her! I will remember that day and many more!! I will truly miss her smile and laugh, her text messages to me, and her kindness to me, which extended to my family. love to the family, and her patience & perseverance! love to her family♥️ - Posted by Jane Mincks on November 4, 2023

  • 04/09/2024

    I have often said that Aunt Mary is/was one of the nicest people I know. Always kind, always smiling, and always a joy to be around. As a young child, I used to help prepare Thanksgiving dinner with Aunt Mary and other aunts at my grandmother's house in Palisade. Aunt Mary's laugh was so calming as was her soft voice as she taught me how to tear apart the toasted bread for the stuffing. Such fond, fond memories of a wonderful lady. Rest in Peace, Aunt Mary. I miss being able to see you again. - Posted by Terri Watson on February 1, 2024

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