Richard J. DeGroot, 65, of Northland, MI, died on Sunday, February 1, 2015 at Marquette General Hospital from pancreatic cancer.
He was born on March 16, 1949 in Escanaba, the son of Joseph and Mary (Guntlisbergen) DeGroot. Richard graduated from Holy Name High School in 1967. In spite of his handicaps, he was an adventurous soul. Following graduation he enrolled in a heavy equipment operating school in Florida and continued to work in the area on several golf courses and could use a bulldozer to level to the inch. From there, he moved to Barrow, Alaska where he worked for four years, operating heavy equipment to help build the Alaskan Pipeline. During one of his slack times, he traveled to Rome with his uncle Fr. John DeGroot.
When the pipeline was finished, he bought himself a semi-tractor and trailer and the next 17 years he hauled for Amway and produce across country from coast to coast. In 1993, he parked the semi and returned to work the family farm in Northland. There he has managed and operated a successful Black Angus Cow/Calf operation reaching a peak in 2013 of producing 95 calves. He was kind hearted and was always willing to help friends and neighbors in need. Richard will be sadly missed.
He is survived by siblings, Henry (Rosemary) DeGroot of Northland, Norbert (Bonnie) DeGroot and Rita Bruce of Arnold, Therese (Carl) Stenberg and Bernadette (Richard) Haeusler of Bark River, Fr. Francis DeGroot of Escanaba; special friend and partner in farming Audrey Doss; aunt, Sr. Oda Marie DeGroot; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Mary DeGroot.
Visitation will be held on Friday, February 6, 2015 from 4 to 6 p.m. at St. Anne’s Church in Escanaba. The Mass of Christian burial will follow at 6 p.m. at St. Anne’s Church with his brother, Rev. Fran DeGroot as main celebrant and Rev. Al Mott of St. Joseph Church in Northland concelebrating. A meal will follow in the church hall.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Holy Name School in Richard’s name. Memorial envelopes will be available at the church or the Crawford Funeral Home in Escanaba.
The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the DeGroot family with arrangements.