Erwin Henry Grosshans

February 4, 1916 - June 27, 2021

Erwin Henry Grosshans passed on to his heavenly home on June 27, 2021 at Heritage House in Plano, TX.  He was born February 4, 1916 in Beulah, North Dakota, son of the late Reverend Louis J. and Elsa A. (Kossert) Grosshans.

Erwin graduated from Wartburg College in 1937 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chemistry and a Teaching Certificate. He taught at Hebron Junior College in Nebraska for two years before being drafted into the Army in 1941.  Erwin transferred to the Army Airforce and served as Weather Officer until he separated from the service as a 1st Lieutenant in 1946.  He was a food chemist at Monarch Foods in Chicago until early 1948, and then transferred to Janesville, Wisconsin. On September 19, 1948, he and Ruth were married.  They lived in Janesville, Wisconsin until 1957, when he transferred to Green Bay, Wisconsin as a Quality Assurance Technician for the Larsen (Canning) Company.  (He and his family loved the access this gave him to fresh corn on the cob in the summer.)  Erwin remained with this company until his retirement in 1984 and was often seen riding his bike to and from work. 

While in Green Bay, he was an active member of Redeemer Lutheran Church, serving in a variety of ways.

Erwin kept himself busy, and when he wasn’t working or spending time with family, he could be found enjoying his hobbies.  The harvest from his large and productive gardens included raspberries, currants, gooseberries and a host of vegetables.  Erwin tended a variety of beautiful flowers and fruit trees in his yards as well.  He took the family to Door County every year to pick apples, cherries and plums.  Everyone appreciated eating the fruits of this labor all year long in the form of homemade sauces, jams, jellies and pies.  Erwin also enjoyed picking up black walnuts and pecans wherever he found the trees.  Many an hour was spent cracking and removing the nut meat for baking and sharing with family and friends.  This past fall and winter he cracked almost 80 pounds of pecans that are still being enjoyed.

He was an avid stamp collector and had an extensive collection.  Erwin could be found organizing stamps, as well as trading them through the exchange of written and e-mail correspondence with collectors from all over the world. His collection was built over the span of 88 years. 

Living down the street from Lambeau Field, Erwin was a Packer fan and listened to or watched most all of the games, win or lose – though winning was definitely more fun.

Everywhere they lived, he and Ruth found friends or family to join in hands of Bridge, Pinochle, Euchre and Rummy.  Erwin enjoyed a high percentage of wins through the years!  He was still playing Fourteen with his children as recently as April 2021.

Erwin was skilled in packing, especially his vehicles, and was able to get six children, two adults and luggage for all into the station wagon (or briefly, the VW bus) for road trips to visit family.  The children remember packing in cardboard boxes that he tied on top of the car!  In Erwin and Ruth’s travels to and from Florida, his skills were used again to get everything needed into a midsize sedan.  He filled every spot available like he was putting a jigsaw puzzle together, but always left just enough room for Ruth. 

In 1992, Erwin and Ruth moved to Yorkville, Illinois and enjoyed living closer to Ruth’s family and their son and family in the Chicago area.  They were members of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Montgomery while there.  He and Ruth enjoyed traveling, especially visits to family in various parts of the country.  They developed long lasting friendships wherever they lived and loved being snowbirds. They traveled to and from Bradenton, Florida for about 27 years before permanently re-locating to Parkview Retirement Community in Allen, TX in 2012.  During their years in Texas, they felt blessed to be well looked after by family in the Dallas area and loved visits from those out of the area.  Erwin celebrated his 100th – 104th birthdays surrounded by family, which included the enthusiasm of five great grandchildren under the age of eight years old!  Birthday 105 was festively celebrated outside under COVID protocols with some family in person and others on ZOOM.

At the ages of 98 and 103, Ruth and Erwin required more assistance with daily living, and in the fall of 2019 moved to Heritage House in Plano, Texas.  The family expresses their heartfelt gratitude to the caregivers at Heritage House and also to the congregation of Faith Lutheran Church and to Pastor James Woelmer for his regular visits bringing Jesus’ Word and Holy Communion to Erwin and Ruth.

Erwin was preceded in death by his wife of over 71 years, Ruth (Dhuse) Grosshans, his father, mother, sisters Lorraine Grunke and Gertrude Haebich, and granddaughter Julianne.

He is survived by six children: Alan (Sharon) Grosshans, Pasadena, California; Neal (Helen) Grosshans, Arlington Heights, Illinois; Lee (Ann) Grosshans, Plano, Texas; Anne Grosshans, Anchorage, Alaska; Betty (Bruce) Hartman, McKinney, Texas; and Janet (Seth) Willis, Cedar Park, Texas. Erwin is also survived by seven grandchildren, Andrew, Bryan, Jon (Holly), Mark (Laura), Joanna (Jason) Schmieding, Katy, and Emily (Bryan) De La Torre. He celebrated the birth of six great grandchildren, Jack, Henry, Colin, Bennett, Elisa and Julian.  Erwin is also survived by nieces, nephews and other family.

Erwin was loved by many and will be greatly missed.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday, July 26, 2021 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 63 Fernwood Rd., Montgomery, Illinois.  Lunch and an opportunity for fellowship will follow the service.  The interment of ashes service for both Erwin and Ruth will be held at Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery, Kendall County, Illinois.

The family invites memorials to be made to Faith Lutheran Church (1701 E Park Blvd., Plano, TX 75074), St. Luke’s Lutheran Church (63 Fernwood Rd., Montgomery, IL 60538), Immanuel Lutheran Church (398 Church Road, Compton, IL 61318), Hope Seeds (4501 Manatee Ave. West #161, Bradenton, FL 34209) or donor’s choice.

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John and I visited at Redeemer and saw the message from Betty about your Dad. I am sorry for your loss. I have fond memories of both your Mom and Dad. God’s blessings to your family. Deb (Siebert) Kiley, July 11, 2021 It was an honor meeting Erwin and Ruth at Heritage House. They were a loving couple and brought happiness to the house, we learned a lot from them and I personally improved my cooking skills because of them. We will miss them both at Heritage House and may their departed souls rest in eternal peace. For all their six children you had the best loving and caring mum and dad.
Priscillah , July 9, 2021 I recently read Erwin’s beautifully written obituary in the Green Bay paper and would like to express my condolences to Anne and the entire family. He’s one of those dads I remember well from my grade school years at Redeemer. May you find comfort knowing he is now with the Lord and reunited with your mom. God bless and comfort you. Anne, be sure to let me know if you’re ever in the Twin Cities area. Love, Karen Karen (Elfe) Thon, July 5, 2021