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Martin J. Grothe

Former Claremont resident and Claremont City Councilmember Martin J. Grothe died on January 18, 2012 following a brief illness. He was 86.

Born in Charles City, Iowa on September 27, 1925 to Jens and Helen Grothe, Mr. Grothe was the oldest among his 3 siblings, Donald, Lee and Ann.  The Grothe children were boisterous and fun-loving, causing many of the neighborhood pranks to be attributed to their mischief, which was often the case.

With his family, Mr. Grothe moved to Des Moines, Iowa where he lived until he graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1942. He then joined the US Navy and completed a degree in mechanical engineering through Iowa State while he was in the service.

Hijinks and hilarity were not uncommon in the Grothe home. When Mr. Grothe brought his new girlfriend, Jane Herrick, home for dinner, he gave his family strict instructions for their behavior at the dinner table. They spent a few tense minutes until Ms. Herrick dropped a bit of Jello. Mr. Grothe’s brother, Don, stared at her as if she had committed a huge offense until they all broke into laughter and the ice was broken.  Mr. Grothe and Ms. Herrick were married on September 10, 1949 and, shortly after, moved to Kansas City, Kansas where Mr.

Grothe worked and an engineer for Black and Veatch and Mrs. Grothe was a homemaker.

While in Kansas City, the couple had 2 children, Kathleen and Thomas. The young family moved to California in 1960 where Mr. Grothe began a new job with General Dynamics in Pomona. In 1968, he took an engineering position with the Bechtel Corporation where he remained employed until his retirement in 1991.

The Grothe family resided in Claremont and the neighborhood in which they lived provided them with many life-long friends who loved to party. Involved in the broader community, Mr. Grothe and his wife were very active in Republican political groups and the Claremont Methodist Church. In 1966, Mr. Grothe was elected to the Claremont City Council and served for 4 years. Former Claremont Mayor Spears described him as “The Thoughtful Conservative.”

Mr. Grothe and his wife loved to travel and enjoyed cruising many areas of the world. In their later years, they moved to Claremont Manor where they had many friends. Mr. Grothe was active at the Manor, attending meetings and social events and serving on various committees until his eyesight began to fail.

One of his greatest joys was spending time with his family, and he was especially close to his grandchildren, Scott, Laura and Lance. An upbeat and happy man, his grandchildren loved spending time laughing and joking with him. The kitchen table was always a happy place to be when “Papa” was there.

“My dad’s infectious laugh and positive outlook on life will be greatly missed by all of his friends and family,” said his daughter, Kathy Brandenberg.

Mr. Grothe had great pride in his children and supported them in their many endeavors.  His daughter, Kathy, lives in Calexico and serves as an elementary school principal in El Centro. His son, Tom, is a nurse practitioner employed by Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. He lives with his partner of 29 years, Robert Mitchell.

Mr. Grothe is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Don and Marti Grothe of Garden, Michigan; his daughter and son-in-law, Kathy and Bill Brandenberg of Calexico; his son and his partner, Tom Grothe and Robert Mitchell of San Francisco; his 3 grandchildren, Scott Brandenberg and his wife Sarah Brandenberg, Laura Brandenberg and Lance Brandenberg; and his 2 great-grandchildren, Emelia and Alexander Brandenberg. He was predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Jane Grothe; his brother, Lee Grothe; and his sister, Ann Lorimer.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. this Friday, January 27, 2012 at Todd Memorial Chapel in Claremont. 

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