HAROLD “SHORTY” DEGROOT was born on December 8, 1929 to Cornelius and Marie (DeKam) DeGroot on the family farm four miles west of Edgerton, Minnesota. Though he lost his mother at the age of four, Shorty enjoyed growing up on the farm with his father and siblings. In 1937 he moved with his family to a farm five miles north of Leota, MN. It was during this time that his lifelong love of the land began. Many years later he would share with his family of the adventures and shenanigans that took place between himself, his friends, and his siblings. He graduated from Chandler High School in 1947, and continued farming north of Leota, MN. Shorty enlisted in the military on April 26, 1951, and served as a Corporal in the U.S. Army – 1st Infantry. His tour brought him to Sweinfurt, Germany where he was a member of the 7th Field Artillery Regiment. Shorty was honorably discharged on September 12, 1953. A short while later, on December 29, 1953, he was united in marriage to Lorraine Broekhuis in the same church of his baptism - First Christian Reformed Church in Edgerton. In 1965, the couple moved to Edgerton and Shorty began his 25 year career working as a feed salesman for Walnut Grove Feeds, Peets Feeds and Standard Feeds. Shorty also worked preparing tax returns from 1975 to 2002 putting in many long days and nights in front of the April 15th filing deadline. In 1972, after Conrad passed away, Shorty resumed farming the home quarter north of Leota until 1985. Retirement never seemed to last too long for Shorty. He drove school bus for the Hendriks Bus Service for approximately 20 years and worked with McGlaughlin Road Construction from 1990 until 1996. Up until a few years ago he would help with truck driving as well as fall harvesting for the Raaks near Jasper.
Harold was a lifelong member of the First Christian Reformed Church where he also served as a deacon. He supported his community by assisting with the ECES school board, volunteering with the nightwatch program, and as a volunteer for the Edgerton Ambulance Association. He was a member of the American Legion and in his free-time he could often be found reading, watching the Minnesota Twins, or working in his garden. Shorty was proud to have visited 48 of the 50 states. Shorty was an honest, forgiving man with a beloved sense of humor. He will be remembered by many for the love he showed, the wisdom he shared, and the integrity he displayed.
In the later years Shorty fell in love with working in his backyard garden, sharing his produce with family and neighbors. On Sunday, July 21, 2019, at the age of 89 years, 7 months, and 13 days, “Shorty” DeGroot traveled from his earthly garden to the Heavenly Garden, we can only imagine.
He is survived by his wife, Lorraine of Edgerton; children, Douglas (Shawn) DeGroot of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Darla (Kevin) Kots of Sioux Center, Iowa, Dawn (Terry) Streff of Orange City, Iowa, Denise (Phil) Gorter of Luverne, Minnesota, Dean DeGroot of Bakersfield, California, and DaVonn (Warren “Jack”) Tinklenberg of Edgerton; 17 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren, 3 great-great-grandchildren; sister, Alvina Brower of Pipestone, Minnesota; sisters-in-law, Opal VanderWoude and Elaine Altena; and 39 nieces and nephews. Harold was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Luella and Nellie; and brothers, Melvin and Conrad.
In lieu of flowers donations could be made to Edgerton Ambulance Assoc. or 1st CRC Radio Ministry.
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